Having anxiety is like walking around with a huge plastic bag surrounding you that’s connected to your thoughts and feelings. It’s clear and spacious enough that sometimes you forget about it. Not because it goes away, but because you get used to dealing with it. You can still see through it so sometimes you can trick yourself into believing it isn’t really there. Until you have that first negative thought of the day. And then that bag begins to wrinkle and deflate a little bit at one end. And that thought leads to another one and another side of the bag crinkles and pulls in a little closer toward you. And then after that thought leads to another one and another one, suddenly you realize the bag isn’t spacious at all. In fact it’s becoming tighter and tighter around you and more and more wrinkled and the realization that the negative thoughts have caused the bag to collapse in on you causes more negative thoughts and then without warning you’re being suffocated not just by the negative thoughts but also by thinking about the negative thoughts and the repercussions of having them. And before you know it, you’re suffocating. You can’t see past the wrinkled bag that’s become a second skin and you know it’s your own fault because if you would have just stopped thinking the thoughts that caused the bag to deflate and warp in the first place, you wouldn’t even be in this mess. And even though you know that’s how it should work, because that’s probably how it works for other people, you know that for you it’s different. You’re different. You don’t get to choose the thoughts and you don’t get to choose your minds reaction to them. All you can do is deal with the aftermath of a skin tight bag around your body and hope that once you finally fall asleep, after tossing and turning and thinking thoughts you don’t want to be thinking for hours, it’ll loosen up enough that tomorrow when a negative thought hits and it begins to tighten up again, that there’s enough space in the bag that you’ll still be able to breathe.
(photo credit: TiaDanko)