What Anxiety is Like
I let someone read my story today, I was even there with them and as the silence continued on, my anxiety peaked. Stretching out like gum on a machine, my brain got more filled with dense ideas of what they were thinking. “Do they like it...? Is it... good?” was all I could hear in my head. The silence was killing me slowly, agonizingly so. Even as it’s now over all I feel is nervousness. Constructive criticism was very well absorbed by ever crack of my brain, overworking it and overthinking it over and over like it was stuck on loop. What could I have done better, what could I have changed- added, what could be more immersive. Thoughts danced in my head as the cog wheels turned and my brain went numb. Shaking as I wrote another chapter, mind still entangled with my racing thoughts I stumbled over and cleared them out to start another story. Deep breaths, everything will be fine. Raking my brain, I couldn’t think straight. Thoughts rushed through me like claws. I couldn’t focus. Everything was happening one after the other, voiced of ideas, fears and all were all I could hear... Okay breathe, you are fine. Everything calmed down and it felt as if I was in a river, turbulent but warm. Deep breaths, what was wrong with me? If I can’t even take constructive criticism without having a panic attack then why am I even writing in the first place. No... I can take it and its not me it’s... them. I worry for impressing them- entertaining them, they’re all I care about. Their opinions dance around my mind like ballerinas long after the conversation has passed. I was obsessed. The idea that this wasn’t all they wanted to tell me was suffocating, they wouldn’t sugar coat anything... right? I was slowly going insane but yet I still write like my life depends on it and I myself don’t know why. Why would this be happening, what was I so worried about... Quivering like a leaf on a tree I sat there, contemplating, thoughts once more flooding my mind but they were all of me. Why couldn’t I just accept their kind words and move on? Why does everything they say have to have a double meaning when clearly it doesn’t? The rivers current picked up speed and I was being swept away, I needed to calm down. Deep breath... ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Calm again. I stared into the abyss as my mind finally seemed to clear. I was still in one piece but my head was still filled to the brim with condescending comments. Just breathe, I don’t have to worry about it. Deep breaths. The rivers water evaporated, I was met with hard stone against my back. Just like that, it was as if nothing even happened. I was back to normal again, ready to take on another challenge. I had to think of this logically, because everything they said was true. What kind of writer did I want to be? Most of my stories have a trademark, should I change that? How can I impress them? These thoughts, new but familiar swarmed my mind as I moved forward. I was certain I’d be back to this river one day but at least for now, I stood on the bank, ready to do it all over again.