the enemy






My hands start shaking, and my breath speeds up. I have to put my laptop down as tears start falling from my eyes, my whole body vibrating now.

There are only kind, encouraging comments pouring in, but my mind isn't registering any of them. Instead, it is screaming, frothing at the mouth with rage:

"THIS IS A MISTAKE! NO ONE WANTS TO READ THIS! EVERYONE WILL HATE IT! IT'S TOO PERSONAL, TOO EMOTIONAL, TOO MUCH, TOO MUCH, TOO MUCH, TOO MUCH. THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH! HOW DARE YOU CALL IT A BOOK, HOW DARE YOU THINK YOU ARE A WRITER, TALENTED - IT'S JUST PAGES OF YOUR MOANING. DELETE IT! NOW!!!"

I try to fight it. As always, I try to push back, to regain control over my thoughts.



It was supposed to be a good day. I accomplished something that I set my mind to, actually committed and then followed through. I thought I had overcome both fear and its favorite friend, procrastination, and left them in my rear-view mirror. Hitting "publish" on the Facebook post announcing my success was supposed to quieten the fear, to show it that I can do things in spite of it.

I haven’t had a panic attack in a while, and I am sleeping okay, and so have lulled myself into a false sense of safety. I've convinced myself that I am in charge, I am the shot-caller, that I have finally won.

I should have know better. The anxiety is always there, and it doesn’t like to lose. Just when I think I’m out of the woods, it pulls back the curtain to reveal that I am simply in a clearing, still trapped in a jungle of worry and fear. After a short respite, a sweet moment of calm, anxiety comes roaring back, slamming into my shields and burning them to the ground.



I'm sweating now, physically straining to hold the anxiety back as the pressure builds at the base of my neck. Every inch of my skin is tingling, ears ringing, and I am struggling to catch my breath.

My jaw starts clenching, all the muscles in my body taut with tension, trying to keep the howling storm at bay. Tears are streaming down my face now, my breath coming in short, heaving sobs.

I try to focus on something, anything to distract my mind from itself, but it is no use: panic has taken over. My mind hits self-destruct and watches gleefully as the walls start tumbling down, chanting its negative, hateful tirade as brick by brick comes crashing to the floor.



Lying in bed two hours later, my body is still tingling from sensory overload. The pillows and blankets curled around me have calmed me down somewhat, and now I am just exhausted. As always, anxiety won.

It was supposed to be a good day. But when you're living with anxiety, even good days can be marred by fear rearing its ugly head. There is no control, no off-switch. You simply do your best to deal with the enemy in whichever incarnation it decides to show up as that day, and hope that maybe, one day it will get tired of winning meaningless victories.

Until then, all I can do is wait.