Is This What Anxiety Feels Like?

I woke in a cold sweat, for the first time afraid, for the first time, ever last night. Don’t, pray, get any ideas that my life has been so mundane or simple, cozy or complete, that I’ve never had reason for anxiety or worry, stress or distress. Rather, sleep has always worked for me, not against me. The respite of messy hair pressed against pillow is an actual release, for me. I do not dream — sleep befalls me seconds after I turn off my lights. I do not wake until my music gently alarms me into daylight.

Magic gets lost in the mundane
Magic gets lost on Sunday, magic gets lost in
Magic gets lost in the world we live in

The covers are clammy, clinging to my naked midriff, my feet are cold, my face on fire. I am terrified. Legitimately terrified that something horrific, unknown, unseen, is about to take place. Oh! It could be my dad’s cancer diagnosis. Oh! It could be my mom’s cancer returning? Oh! It could be my brother’s custody hearing, whispers of criminality. Oh! It could be the Democratic debates, echoing in my subconscious as I sleep. Oh! It could be the overwhelmingalwayspresentweight of being a woman in 2020, a business owner, a mother, a lover, a human, a me.

I don’t suffer anxiety — though I’ve read enough books on the topic, picked apart the pieces and named the beast and know her well. I HAVE anxiety. I just don’t suffer it. I have boxed and categorized her, time-capsuled and labeled and stuck on a shelf and imagined I’ll deal with her later. I don’t have anxiety because I am busy smashing seventeen events into one twenty-four hour cycle — my calendar a hodge-podge of color coordination and coordinating rides for kids, lives for others. I run contracts and client meetings with efficiency and movement. We don’t have time to sit and worry — we have time, now, to do. I don’t have anxiety because I am too busy to have anxiety.

I draw a line ’til the line starts going off course
In black and white, I can’t see the color
I don’t know what it’s moving towards
But I try to believe it’s true
Is it better to have loved and lost?

I don’t know why, last night, around 3am, the cover broke and the beast woke. I can assign meaning, imagine the reasons, feel the effect. I’m not sure how this was the night, this was the day, this is the week, this is the time, this is the year, this is the moment, where it suddenly became more than it was and is. And I’ll get through it, of course, pull covers back around my breasts, tuck my toes under my partners still-sleeping legs. But you know the way your head buzzes with caffeine? Mine buzzes, today. You know the way your stomach turns when something spoils? Mine turns, today. You know the way you second guess everything you put into the world and wonder if it matters if it matters if it matters? I know, today.

There’s no end to this — today, now. There isn’t a pretty bow on a package of loss or longing or a plan to “get on with it” or move along. I know that I am still functional, still at the office, still slamming fingers against an aging keyboard and trying to organize myself into peace. No answers, no accountability.

Just this: You know when you have an anxiety attack? I do, today.

Magic gets lost in the mundane
Magic gets lost on Sunday, magic gets lost in
Magic gets lost in the world we live in*

*lyrics from Flickers, by Wrabel