The Beast Within Me
Anxiety. We've all experienced it. Speaking in front of a crowd, an important interview, the peak of a roller coaster. That heart-pounding, breath-snatching, overwhelming feeling of uncertainty. This type of anxiety is talked about openly, without fear of judgement. There is another, much darker beast that lives and breathes inside of some of us. One which brings great shame. One which we must hide in the solitude of silence. But I've never been one to keep my mouth shut...often at my own detriment.
I have anxiety disorder. I have that heart-pounding, breath-snatching, overwhelming feeling of uncertainty constantly. I live in a world in which, at any given moment, I am crippled by fear. I can't see straight, I'm shaking, I feel the weight of the world crushing my rib cage. I want to scream, I want to run, but I can't run from myself. Tears are streaming down my cheeks and I feel like I'm choking on them. Drowning. What am I doing when the beast rears its ugly head? Getting ready for work, checking my mail, sitting on my bed, looking at frozen entrees through the fogged glass in the grocery store. The beast isn't picky.
Why am I telling you all of this? I've always been the strong one, the funny one. I've always been the one who perseveres. It's felt important to me for my entire life to keep the laughs coming to hide the pain of anxiety and depression, but not for me. It felt important that I was strong for everyone else. Strong so everyone could go about their lives thinking I'm okay and not burdened with my burden. I've always been the friend you could come to with your problems because giving people solutions has given me a sense of purpose. But what better purpose could there be than sharing something so freely that people feel so ashamed to open up about?
What better purpose could there be than letting people who suffer in silence, thinking they're fucking insane, know that they are in no way alone? We have to speak up about depression and anxiety and try to chisel away at the paralyzing stigma that has taken so many incredible people from this world. People who thought they were alone. You are never alone. It's the isolation that comes from the fear of saying "I'm not okay" that makes you feel like there's no one but you and the beast. We have to share more, help each other and reach out to people we see fading into the black. No one can do this life shit alone.