I’m currently lurking in the dark corners of anxiety.
Yes it is fun and you can join me, thank you for asking.
It’s a fairly bad … episode? Is that what they call it? Turn? Is it a ‘turn’ if you don’t leave your house for three days, even to go to the letterbox? I don’t know.
Anxiety sneaks up on me. It’s a slow burn, sometimes over many months, and it usually culminates in one specific attempted expedition to the supermarket, when I freeze at my front door and end up in an hysterical ball on the floor.
Gaz is very nice about it. He pulls the car over and goes shhhhhh and strokes my hair.
Anxiety can be very self-centric. You don’t understand. You don’t have anxiety. You are lucky. My children, my boyfriend, my parents, my sister, my friends, they are all lucky because they don’t have anxiety. I would help support a million friends with anxiety if it meant I didn’t have to have it myself. They are so. lucky.
But of course, they are not.
Now that my kids are older, they are beginning to realise that the way I approach life isn’t the same as the way the other mothers do it. They want to go to Tasmania. I would love to go to Tasmania with them. We would go to the markets and drink the apple juice and play in the snow and eat the lobsters. But I am afraid. More than usual. And they keep asking, and I keep saying, “Of course, one day!” so that I don’t have to panic about it, but that’s not good enough for them anymore. “When?” they say. “When are we going? Can we go next week?” “No, not next week. But one day.”
People begin to anticipate the anxiety pike. “Sorry, I just don’t think I can go.” “I knew you wouldn’t. I never actually bought the tickets. It was fun to pretend though, right?”
Because when you have anxiety, it’s fun to pretend to be a person.
“You went to the city on your own! I’m so proud of you.”
Because when you have anxiety, some days you are an infant.
“I understand if you don’t want to go.”
Because when you have anxiety, sometimes people enable your excuses.
“Look at all you’ve achieved, despite everything!”
Because when you have anxiety, you have to work hard and not panic, which is like two lots of work.
“Don’t worry, no one can tell.”
Because your anxiety should be a secret. Try to hide it. Be a normal person.
There’s nothing to be afraid of.