It a feeling of overwhelming. A tightness in your chest. It is being completely undone. Fingernails on chalkboards everywhere you turn.
It is illogical. Unreasonable.
And you know that.
But no matter how much you apologize, no matter how much you try not to complain, no matter how irrational you know you are being, it’s still there.
It claws. It suffocates. It python-squeezes.
It is quicksand. It shifts quickly. It engulfs.
You try to escape, but thoughts trigger just like reality does. Thoughts and reality blur. What is real? What am I afraid of?
It is a pile of laundry. Is is a big crowd. It is a fast-approaching deadline. It is never life-threatening. But I can’t tell that to my body.
It is slowly becoming unglued. Unraveling, like yarn. It is the boiling pot that is ready to spill.
It demands action. Immediate, fast, reckless action. The trigger has to be dealt with and dealt with now.
But it is also paralyzing. Quadriplegic. Just get away. Escape. Close your eyes. Ignore it. Breathe. Just breathe. Just breathe.
Maybe that’s a good thing. On a tight-ponytail hair day, I am reckless. I push too hard, throw too often, toss away without thought. I am a wind-up toy wound far too far past my limit.
I am now an adult. I have grown-up words to put my experience into context. Fight or flight. Sensory input.
But as a kid, I had no words. Just shrieks when my blinds were opened when I got home from school. (I kept them closed.) Fits when my bed covers got out of place. A rush of chaos when my closet doors were cracked open.
My logical response … Put that hair back into the tightest ponytail until your eyebrows have been relocated to the base of your scalp.
It wasn’t long before the whole family knew these days as “tight ponytail hair days.”
But most people just call it anxiety.