It’s two o’clock in the morning, I am alone. I’m in the front room of the ninth floor flat I moved into last month, sat on the floor tucked away in a little nook beside the sofa next to a window. If anybody walked in they would just see some slightly lanky legs sticking out of nowhere and they would hear the light taps of a keyboard.
I’m sat down here in my small, slightly uncomfortable nook because of the perks that come with this spot, my favourite spot. It’s the best spot in the entire place because it lets me look out across the surrounding quays, it lets me watch the night go on around me, in its haze of cutting bright light and neon.
I moved here because, to be honest, in the last year or so I got almost everything I could have asked for. I’m sans significant other, but I did manage to sort of topple my insomnia, get a new job that creatively fulfils me and is (nearly) what I got into thousands of pounds of debt to study, I’ve moved into a space of my own to allow me to grow and develop as a person, and I got a sweet new pair of Doc’s to boot!
I got almost everything I could ask for, but there’s still an overwhelming feeling. A strange sense of something I can’t quite put my finger on.
When life gives you lemons make lemonade. It’s a classic proverb designed to encourage you to take the sourness life can give you and chuck a shit-tonne of sugar on until it starts to taste sweet. But what if you prefer orangeade?
This past week I suffered an anxiety *thing*. I won’t call it an anxiety attack because that sounds like a bit of an exaggeration. I don’t think it was quite dramatic enough to be classed as an attack. Maybe an anxiety ambush? An anxiety skirmish? An anxiety kerfuffle?
I had this *thing* on Thursday while I was working from home. Nobody else was around so I hadn’t really bothered to get dressed much beyond what people in a video call would be able to see.
I actually had plans with friends for later that day, so when I started to feel a little weird I shot off an early ‘if I don’t make it this is why’ message, to cover my back just in case. Smart right?
But not long after my genius message, my ‘feeling a little weird’ became ‘feeling a lot weird’.
I became nauseous, my heart was beating so fast it was like I was in a Scorsese movie, I was scorching hot, sweat was dripping down my by now blood red face, my hands were opening and closing like I was honking invisible horns for an imaginary audience, and I started to feel dizzy, claustrophobic, and unsettled.
Then, last but not least, a few solitary, impactful tears rolled down my shocked face. And believe me, I was panicking.
I paced back and forth in my slightly cramped room with no idea what to do. I cleared out my entire bedroom of all clutter, anything that didn’t need to be there and wasn’t bolted down was out, I was throwing everything in a pile in the living room, all the while gasping for air like a fish out of water. That will teach me to not unpack everything before I get settled.
In all my life I had never really dealt with any kind of anxiety ambush, so when it came I was ill-prepared. I panicked. I panicked because I didn’t know for sure what the cause was, I panicked because life had skipped past giving me lemons and went straight to handing me lemonade, and here I was hunched in a ball because I didn’t like the taste.
It’s now Saturday. Well, early hours of Sunday, but to not be pedantic, it’s now Saturday. I feel better, still a little off, I still catch one of my hands doing the air horn thing sometimes when I’m not paying attention, but on the whole, better.
And since the anxiety scuffle I’ve been wracking my brain trying to decipher what exactly could have caused it. Just like when it comes to the ocean, to space, the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
Life can be scary sometimes. New things can be scary, old things can be scary; getting older, losing friends, gaining friends, being alone, love, can all be absolutely terrifying.
But they are all realities of life. Nobody goes through their life without fear. Even superman has kryptonite, Iron Man has rust, and Batman has increased taxation for the rich and a fair working wage for his employees.
I don’t know for sure what caused my anxiety invasion. I may not ever know for absolute certain. But I do know that I’m not embarrassed to talk about it. I’m not scared to acknowledge it.
Life can get to you for all sorts of reasons. Being able to come through the other side is all about knowing that when life does put you on your arse and kick dirt in your face, you have it in you to get back up, dust yourself off, tell life to piss off, and keep going with your head held high.
Life’s a long road, make sure you stop every now and again to take in the view and try one of those lemons everybody keeps talking about.
I write about my experiences to share what I go through, as a way for me to normalise it if I can, and as a way for me to help myself to overcome.
Boys are brought up in a world that encourages them to bottle things up, to never talk about the way they feel. So instead of shouting it off the balcony for the whole world to hear, I feel more comfortable heading to a small corner somewhere to write my feelings out, to fail to put a good ending onto my thoughts is better than not share them at all.
I’m really bad at ending these