Sorry, this is still going. – Anna Spargo-Ryan

Sorry, this is still going.

Sorry, this is still going.

During “episodes”, which is what I like to call periods in which I feel like a sack of hell because it means they will be over one day, I sometimes feel like I’ve forgotten how to do things. It causes me a lot of grief and crying. It finds me sitting in front of my computer for long periods of time, with my mouth hanging open, reading back over things I’ve done before and shouting at it, like “I KNEW IT. I did know how to do this, once!”

It isn’t that I’ve forgotten how. It isn’t that I’ve lost the part of my brain that knows how to have a conversation or kiss my boyfriend’s neck or read a poem. But anxiety is a thief. It is a time thief and a pleasure thief. It comes in to my house–on the weekend, usually–and grabs the things I like and sits on top of them, so I have to hunt for them but always come across this anxiety squatter first. And it looks at me as if to say, I’m just looking after these for you for a little while, so I sit next to anxiety and talk to it instead of trying harder to reclaim those things that are mine.

Being an anxious person out in the open is good and bad. It means that people don’t push me when I’m feeling bad. But it also means that people don’t push me when I’m feeling bad. It means that on Monday morning, I asked my little brother for help and he said yes. But it also means that I could ask my little brother for help, knowing that he would say yes. It means that on Tuesday morning, he helped me again. And that every morning since, he has sent me a text message to ask if I’m okay.

My dad, bless his enormous and generous heart, has been reading about agoraphobia to try to understand it better. “I don’t understand it,” he says, “but I am trying to.” Then he says, “I’m worried that in helping you, I’m not helping you. Or that I’m helping you to rely on my help.” And it’s true. Anxiety is not just a thief, it is also an illusionist. With support, it disappears momentarily and you think it might be gone (not for good, probably, but for a little while).

But the next time it is back like a smug old man, staring you in the face, “You can’t do it.” So you say, “It doesn’t matter if I can’t do it, because someone will support me,” and call fifteen different people and take all the support they have and then suddenly, inexplicably, you are a thief too.

  • Hannah

    April 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply

    I am pissed off by this..
    but I think that speaks more of my mental state than yours.
    People give because your worthy of giving to; dont forget!

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm Reply

      It is so easy to forget D: Sorry Hannah! x

      • Hannah

        April 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm Reply

        Oh no.. thats the extra sad face.. now I’m sorry.

        • Anna Spargo-Ryan

          April 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply

          Then we should BOTH have chocolate.

          • Hannah

            April 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm

            Hooray!!! solved x

  • Natalie

    April 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm Reply

    Yes, I feel this so much. I am a thief. (We steal from ourselves the most.)

  • Michaela C

    April 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm Reply

    Darling. Take the support you need.

    You are not taking anyone for granted. You are not demanding. You are not stealing from other people.

    Because to quote a shitty ad, you’re worth it.

    Anxiety is a liar. People just aren’t that good at pretending so if they’re offering to help, they mean it. Don’t let them down. Let them help.

    Ramble ramble.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply

      Thanks Michaela x

      • Rose Wintergreen

        April 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm Reply

        I second everything Michaela just said! You’re not thieving! At least, not in this instance ;) Hope you’re having a good day today. x

        • Anna Spargo-Ryan

          April 22, 2013 at 9:33 pm Reply

          I did have a really nice day today, actually! Best in ages. Thanks love x

  • Lana

    April 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm Reply

    Never be afraid to ask for support. That anxiety is a strong fucker – and sometimes you need many hands to force him out

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm Reply

      Thanks lovely. I’m not afraid to ASK for support, but I’m afraid of how I will feel after I get it :\

      • Lana

        April 20, 2013 at 6:59 pm Reply

        That’s the last bit of fear you need to conquer – knowing that you are worth helping.

        And you are !

  • karen @ the rhythm method

    April 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm Reply

    You’re not a thief because you give so much back. I know you’re in a hell hole at the moment, but your writing is divine. I read a quote recently which I can’t remember and it might have been Zadie Smith, but she said “being a writer is being happy with not being satisfied”. And somehow, part of the job is being content with never being happy.
    Anxiety is an A-hole, and I hope it goes away for longer than it stays. You’re good at asking for help, so keep doing that for as long as you need to. I never ask for help and it makes my hole bigger and harder to dig out of. You’re doing the rights things in the right quantities. Love your work. xx

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm Reply

      You know so many of the right things to say, lady! (Zadie Smith does, too.) Thank you. When I am less of an idiot, I’d love to come visit the sea air x

  • Nathalie Brown

    April 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm Reply

    My words won’t take the anxiety away, just know that you are a friend I think of often. Always here if you need me. I also always have chocolate. X

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm Reply

      Thanks Nat, you are such a generous and wonderful person.

  • Deb @ Bright and Precious

    April 22, 2013 at 11:03 am Reply

    Heartbreaking to read, Anna. But you express it so well. And I know for a fact that people who love you will not think you are a thief. x

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Deb. At least I can be well-meaning in my thievery, if I know that giving back is part of the equation.

  • Jodi Gibson

    April 22, 2013 at 11:29 am Reply

    I wish I had the words to help. Just know you are loved and supported, everything else doesn’t matter x

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      April 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm Reply

      I wish *I* had the words to say thank you loudly enough x

  • Bill Harper

    April 22, 2013 at 11:29 am Reply

    You’re anything but a thief, Anna. We give because we want to. We want to give because we care about you. And we care about you because… well, because you’re you.

  • magda

    April 22, 2013 at 11:44 am Reply

    I haven’t commented in a while but don’t want you to think that it’s because I am not reading. This was beautiful, as ever – an honour to read. Thanks for sharing. xxx

  • Caroline

    April 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm Reply

    I feel blessed to have you as a friend. Anxiety is a bitch and I hate how it makes you feel, but you are not a thief xxx

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