On Anxiety

It starts in the hands. Or no. It starts in the chest. The tightness. The quickening of the heart. The heart beats too fast. Or is it beating at all? Is it there? The heart, it pumps the blood through your body, the blood to the hands, the hands that are shaking. If you’re driving, hold on. Don’t let go of the wheel. Only don’t touch it; you don’t know what it will do if you touch it. You might veer off, the car careening out of control as it does in your dreams, the pedals not working, not the one that makes it stop, and suddenly you’re running over the curb. Don’t drive on the curb, drive on the street. Follow the other cars. Do what they do. And breathe. You’re supposed to breathe. How does that work? In, out. In, out. In out in out in out in out in out inoutinoutinout wait. Not so fast. Can’t breathe fast. Slowly. So much work. Just think about driving, not about breathing. Your body will breathe on its own. Unless it doesn’t. But then you won’t have to worry about it any more. Now. Driving. Almost there. Hands on the wheel. Slowly. See? The car stops when you hit the brake. It turns when you turn. Carefully. Just a little.

If you’re not in the car there’s less to do, so that’s good. Just sit at your desk. No one is watching you. Just sit and it will look like you’re working. Breathing. You’re supposed to breathe. Same problem with that. In out inoutinoutinoutin. The hands won’t stop shaking. Don’t look at them. Water. Drink some more water. If nothing else, then you’ll have to pee, and that will be something normal you can do.

You’ll have to drive in the car later. But you’ll have to drive well because your kid will be with you, and you can’t hurt him. Hope he is okay. Hope he will eat dinner. Crap. Dinner. Must make something for dinner. Hands still shaking, and your kid will want you, and how do you make dinner and sit on the sofa with him at the same time?

Drinking stills the shaking. Have a glass of wine. They call this self-medication, and it’s bad, it works. You can’t take your real drugs because you’ll pass out, and you have to take care of your kid. Somehow no one seems to consider that part. You try to do the right things. Eat well. Go for walks. Breathe. But nothing seems to stop this shaking. Every day. Every damn day. Every day till you fall asleep, when you pray for quiet dreams.

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