A Letter To My Anxiety
In an anxiety filled fever dream in the middle of summer in New York, my family and I draped into crowd control in Times Square alongside thousands of other people who just wanted to return to their beds in their make-shift “homes”. It was here at midnight in Manhattan that I had my first panic attack. I felt trapped, stuck in the midst of people I wanted to leave.
As my breathing sped, and New York’s brightest lights blurred in front of me. I closed my eyes. Breathed. Hoped. Prayed for my heart rate to fall, my breathing to slow, and to not have to worry anymore.
At thirteen I didn’t realise that this signified the first of two years worth of panic attacks over whatever I decided to latch onto as “my biggest fear”, I watched the person I was before that night slowly slip away everytime my heart rate began to rise every time the panic settled in.
The memory of this time saddens me. I repeatedly told myself that i wasn't going to feel this way forever, but my continued “failures” allowed this mindset to slowly fade.It wasn’t so much that I didn’t believe in myself or my worth, my goal just seemed like the stars do to the earth. Out of reach. It felt as if the world was constantly moving on without me, so I trudged through life with a smile on my face and a decaying mind.
I continued living my life in a hellish fantasy of making plans and feeling distraught about having to face my some-what all consuming fears of dying, trains and planes in order to have a good time. Except I never truly had a good time, I was so fearful that my anxiety took over and the pain I experienced due to the pure fear of death resulted in a loss of part of my life anyway.
I tried with every ounce of will every ounce of strength to never become a victim to a condition. I taught myself to not cancel plans to make the most of bad situations, to talk to my friends and family when I was struggling. Having anxiety became a burden yet even in my darkest hours I had never allowed it to even come close to becoming a personality trait. I knew I wasn’t a victim. I wouldn’t allow myself to be. So I began recognising my smallest victories and one day when the world seemed to be caving in upon me, I realised my strength.
The year on year battle I’d been fighting with myself was finally coming to its close. The opposing army was receding and in the space of a year, the sixteen year old girl who would avoid trains at all costs, incase she never made it off, started jumping on them without a second thought. A place that was once a breeding ground for her distress suddenly became a place of genuine happiness.
I had closed my eyes. Breathed. Hoped. Prayed. My heart rate had finally fallen and I knew that everything was okay again.
“And here you are living despite it all.” - Rupi Kaur
Written By Charlotte Todd
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