Night (Things I Didn’t Realize)

When they said anxiety feels like a trapped room, I didn’t realize how true that would be.

I didn’t realize that anxiety feels like the moment where you think there’s another step on the staircase,

but your foot

falls

through

empty

air.

It feels like your chair is being tipped –

but you never reach the landing.

 

It’s the constant state of being on edge.

It’s muscles tensed, putting every wall up,

but feeling naked anyway.

It’s suffocation –

every panic, every worry,

circling your head like a merry-go-around for the damned.

 

I didn’t realize how isolating anxiety could be.

I could feel the pitying looks,

I can hear the never ending stream of “are you okay?”

I can see a group of well-intentioned people that love me,

but worry clogs my senses,

influences my mind’s eye.

In the early hours of the morning, curled up in bed,

At eleven a.m., locked in the school bathroom stalls,

I can feel nothing but the panic crawling its way up my throat in a silent scream.

 

Every moment between the attacks feels like waiting for the axe murderer in a thriller –

Inevitable, but unexpected.

 

Amidst the fear, amidst the panic,

I didn’t realize I’d pushed God to the dusty corners of my mind.

Because I’m afraid.

Because I know what He’ll say.

While He is revelation and light,

Anxiety is the sultry darkness,

the crack in the lens,

from which I see everything else.

Anxiety is the wrongness I bear,

the price I pay for my hiding place.

And I can hide behind every checklist, every calendar, every agenda,

But I cannot hide when God is knocking,

His light searing, His glory burning –

 

I didn’t realize how tall my walls were.

I cannot tell where the stone ends and the heart begins.

I didn’t realize I was burying myself in cement,

telling myself this was protection,

but naming that protection Anxiety.

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