The Anxiousaur is a creature that I imagine to be the embodiment of anxiety. I can’t really describe him, because it has no corporeal form to describe, it takes on the shape and texture of my deepest fears at that moment.
Anxiety is one of the hardest things to deal with for me. After all the times I have fought the Anxiousaur, I have found very few ways to conquer it. The best I can manage to push it away for a few days or a few weeks. But it’s always there in the back of my mind, waiting and growing stronger. Often, I feel certain that it will be the death of me. It grows stronger as I grow weaker. Anxiety seems completely unfair, not that anything in life is ever really fair for anyone. But it is supposed to be. Why would we have an innate concept of fairness if it is not something that is meant to be? Life is hard enough for anyone, much more so for a trapezium. Adding in the crippling mental blow of anxiety is just cruel punishment.
Anxiety feels like a violent thunderstorm raging inside my brain. Thoughts race around like the wind, pushing aside everything else. All thoughts I had are gone, I can’t focus on anything. Everything feels like it is moving and being affected by this storm, but the reality is that it is only inside my head. Nothing and no one else is affected by it, which always makes me feel even worse. If there is a storm in the real world, you can at least share your experience with someone else and feel validated and comforted by that fact. But if the storm is only something that you experience, then you are alone in your suffering and that is far worse than the storm itself.
The thoughts that race past are always bad ones. The Anxiousaur loves to throw all the scariest possibilities at me. It reminds me of all the times I have failed at anything in my life, and leaves out any and all successes I have had. These thoughts make it so difficult to focus on anything else. It feels like trying to build a house of cards in a hurricane, no matter much I try it just won’t work. The Anxiousaur thinks of all the bad things that could happen at any given moment and constantly reminds me of them.
For example, I have a truly terrifying time texting people. I hate it. The Anxiousaur tells me that if they don’t reply back fast enough then they must hate me or that I said something weird. I have heard other people joke about this kind of thing before, but I don’t imagine that they feel that way with every text they send. I do and it is horrible.
The Anxiousaur checks in to visit me a lot when I am hungry. I have yet to come to an understanding why, but anytime I go more than a few hours without a snack then my anxiety goes up. I had really impatient and angry because I know that I should not be feeling anxious. It is usually hard for me to recognize when it is happening, so I usually make a point of eating every few hours. But I often forget to do this and don’t notice anything until I have bitten a chunk of tongue off while nervously chewing or I have sprained a finger from tying my hands in knots under the table.
I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder several years ago, although I had known that I suffered from that since about the age of 12. I spent about a year on anti-anxiety medication which did nothing except make me really sleepy and gave me depression (again). I stopped taking the medicine because I couldn’t stop my suicidal thoughts.
One of the worst components of anxiety is that it completely takes away the fun of life. You can’t laugh and enjoy life while anxiety is crushing down upon you, or at least I can’t. There have been so many times when I have been struck with anxiety for some unknown reason while I was doing something fun, and suddenly I feel like I am dying. I can look at everyone else still having fun and enjoying things but I can’t do that anymore because the Anxiousaur is in control now. It hurts so much to be in that situation, to be next to friends having fun and not be able to join them, but to instead be trapped inside your mind prison of anxiety and nervousness. I get so mad at myself when that happens because it’s irrational and makes no sense. I get really depressed after that and then just feel like a pile of wet garbage because I can’t have fun.
Panic attacks are another fun side effect of the Anxiousaur. I was 15 or 16 when I had my first one. I was at the mall with someone I had a crush on, and we were holding hands and walking by Hot Topic. They leaned in to kiss me, and I felt my heart suddenly beating its way out of my chest. I started sweating immediately, and couldn’t breathe. They looked at me like I was crazy and asked if I was ok. I ran (or stumbled) to the bathroom and saw that I looked very blue and pale in the mirror. I then threw up all over the sink. My entire body was shaking, and I could no longer stand up so I crouched down under the sink and sat there for a while. It felt like about 10 years of time that my body was actively trying to kill me. My heart ached because it felt like it had bruised itself by beating so hard. My head felt like it was on fire. My feet and hands were numb for some reason. It was pretty awful. Definitely one of the worst experiences I have had. I have had 3 more of those since then, but none that bad. I learned quickly to recognize the signs of it coming on, and some strategies to help.
For those that might experience something like that, here’s what to do.
If you feel really stressed and you can suddenly feel your heart beat faster and your breath get shorter, take a seat immediately.
Close your eyes and start to focus on your breath.
Tap your fingers and focus on that sensation, think of feeling each fingertip hitting your legs.
Count your breaths, and try to breathe slowly. Keep doing that for a few minutes until you feel back to yourself. That should help you avoid the onset of a full panic attack.