Anxiety is a bitch.
Sometimes I feel it grab hold of me. It starts by clinging to my ankle and slowly but surely climbs me like some wind-worn mountaineer making its way to the top. I want to swat at it, to tell it to back up off me because ain’t nobody got time for this. But, before I know it, it’s clutching my throat. Once its icy, Voldemort-like fingers are pressed there, making breathing an arduous task, I know the real struggle has begun. It’s much harder to shake the feeling of constant panic once it’s reached this level.
Other times, its ascent is lightning quick. One minute I’m whistling with the birds like Cinderella, the next I’m overcome with thick, heavy, mud-like anxiety. Paralyzed and trapped inside my own mind, I can’t get away from the panic. Thoughts race through my brain—each one scary and miserable. I wake up in the middle of the night feeling sick over something that may or may not even be real. I want to run, but I can’t. It’s impossible to escape from yourself.
The other day I was still chuckling at the memory of Ellie standing on the front step, naked, asking me what it was she was supposed to be doing while I got the rest of the groceries out of the car (answer: putting on pants). My chuckle was stopped short when I noticed a van parked in front of our house. It was running, but there was no one inside.
Immediately the panic took hold. Obviously, this van was parked directly in front of my house in broad daylight because its driver planned to carry out some sort of sinister act. I locked the back door before deciding to divert my attention with the rest of the groceries.
I went about my business distractedly, looking out the front window every few minutes to see the van still sitting there. It didn’t take long for me to figure out this villainous missing person’s master plan: kidnapping. Of course. What else does someone do with a van like that?
Terrified, I considered closing the curtains in the room Ellie was playing in to make things more difficult for my unseen foe. I quickly decided against it, because I wouldn’t be able to see him coming (of course it would be a he). I would not allow him the element of surprise. I was totally on to him.
I peeked in at Ellie, who was happily coloring and talking to herself before deciding to try and get a closer look through the blinds in my front window. I peered out as stealthily as possible and noticed almost immediately that there was a FedEx sticker on the side of the van.
Thanks a lot, anxiety. You bitch.
This post is part of my 52 Essays project. In 2015, I set a goal for myself to write one finished piece every week. I failed miserably and only published 16. This year, it’s my mission to complete the project. Some will be good. Some will be less good. Hopefully you’ll love them. Maybe you’ll hate them. We’ll just have to wait and see. 😉 18/52