On my way to pick up my son from daycare, I started getting ideas for my writing projects, and of course, I’m couldn’t write those ideas down. My anxiety started to build, but hey, I’m a pro at this by now, and I could handle this. Suddenly, like a sign from the stars who wish to cut me some slack, the school bus in front of me stopped to let off some kids, and I had a quick moment to jot my ideas down on the random Post-its I have in the center consul of my car. Thank you, Mr. or Mrs. Bus Driver, for giving me a break. You managed to settle my nerves for a whole 15 very welcomed seconds.
The thought, or rather revelation, I had was this: I have an evil twin, and her name is Anxiety. She sucks all the time. She makes me feel “crazy,” and she makes me physically nauseous. I go through moments in my life where I need to make choices, even simple choices, and she appears. She is trying to take over my life. She is trying to conquer this body I was given. I remember being one person as a kid and without notice, this second person crept up on me. It’s like the movie “The Body Snatchers.” One minute I’m my own person, and then bam! I’ve been taken over by my evil twin, and I can’t seem to shake her out. She’s made herself comfortable, and after 20-plus years, I believe she’s here for good.
I started recognizing her existence when I’d get stomach aches and feel shaky and uncomfortable for whatever reason, but I always set it aside. I’d think, “everyone must feel this way most of the time, right?” Wrong. It wasn’t for another few years that I understood what those symptoms meant and that I had an annoying visitor in my head.
Slowly, I started understanding that when I anticipated something, I’d feel anxious. I thought it was what anticipation felt like until I started experiencing that same feeling all the time in different scenarios. I refused to talk about it or tell people because I thought they’d think I was ridiculous for being that excited about going to a house party or a movie. I thought it was strange too. I didn’t get why I was so excited or nervous. I now see it wasn’t me. It was her. These were my friends. I knew them, and they knew me. She wasn’t their friend, and they didn’t know her. But that didn’t matter. She doesn’t care. It happened all the time, and I kept it quiet. As I got older, I
came to terms with those feelings and accepted that I was just constantly anxious. She has refused to move out, and now I live with functional anxiety, and let me tell you, it’s a peach!
Anxiety is constantly around, hovering over me, waiting for something else to get me all riled-up over. She never leaves me be. She’s there with her head held high taking over the most basic parts of my day: Do I get myself or my son ready first? She swoops in at the excitement that a choice needs to be made. She gets her fix, and I get the shit end of the stick. She’s choking me. Ridiculing me. Putting me in constant discomfort.
But I prevail! I continue like a soldier in war. I fight the good fight. But she’s played a trick on me, you see. She’s there even when she’s not there. She leaves behind her dandruff. She leaves behind uncertainty. She leaves me not knowing when she’s going to return. She’s sneaky and she’s vicious. I get things done, and I go about my day, ensuring my family is taken care of. We constantly fight over my mind frame, and she does have her winning moments. Sometimes I give in to her in the hopes that she’ll lay off, but she’s not that nice. She leaves when she’s ready to leave, and I’m left picking up the pieces. I’ve gotten better at taking control over the years, but I believe I will live in a constant battle with my evil twin.
Originally Published on The Mighty