Most nights turning off the light feels like a slow suffocation. The darkness settles over me, and I can feel every nerve ending coming to life. The muscles in my legs refuse to be still. That pent up electric energy spurns all my attempts to ignore it. Then, I begin to twitch. It starts off with barely a shake of my arm or leg, until frustration overtakes what little restraint I have left. It becomes a maddening furry of restless kicks which boot the cats from the room. They were my only allies in this darkness. Now, I am on my own with the alarm clock that is ticking down the hours until work and the new worries it always brings.
The only chance I have for survival is distraction. Books, music, walking, cleaning, showering, and the internet are my chosen tools. I utilize them in a vain attempt to find an off button to my body’s betrayal. If I’m lucky, the wave of panic resides in a half an hour, but most nights it’s hours before I find myself tumbling back into sleep. I am judged this entire time by my cats. They eye me in a seething anger for disturbing them. My humanity is gone, and I no longer care about their needs. I am selfish. They can sleep when I’m at work.
I have no explanation as to why I have anxiety other than I lost at the genetic lottery. But, I am telling you this because nights are usually the worst for me. The nausea, the stomach cramps, the feeling that my lungs are being squeezed so tight that I’m going to asphyxiate, aren’t where the symptoms stop for me. My brain has to play a part too. My brain and body are all about equality. My brain likes to flood me with a tsunami of worst case scenarios, attack of the worms (a legitimate fear), or the not so colorful fear of not being able to pay rent. I flip the light light on to make sure it is still just me and the empty room. I grab my phone and head to Twitter, nobody I know is actually awake on Facebook. I start random conversations with strangers. They have no idea what they are saving me from. Most are likely on the other side of the world, and are unwittingly letting me know that tomorrow exists.
I’m telling you this because I want you to PLEASE remember that talking helps. Talking saves. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out, even if it’s mindless babbling. It isn’t weakness to ask for help. I know trusting others with your darkest secrets is a gamble, but once you start with the little things it gets easier to share.