Back and Forth

by Noise Pollution

I suffer from pretty severe anxiety. It shows itself most openly when I’m forced to participate in some sort of social event, but it’s always there. Even when I’m sitting in my sanctuary of a room, it’s there. It’s an extremely difficult feeling to cope with.

Imagine yourself in a near-nightmare scenario. I’m not saying you should imagine yourself being threatened with murder or anything quite that severe, so don’t go that far with your fantasy-nightmare-thing. Maybe imagine something more along the lines of being a teenager and crashing the family car while somewhat drunk. No one’s hurt, it’s not a terrible accident, but there was another car involved, so you can’t just ignore it. The police are on their way. Maybe you’re not too worried about that, you’re a minor, after all, but this is your parents’ car you’ve crashed. They’re going to find out the circumstances, one way or another. You start rolling around the eventual conversation you’re going to have with them in your head. You know that hours from now, you are going to be incredibly miserable, and the thought of your immediate future is terrifying to you.

You can stop the visualization process there. There’s no need to play out the scenario to it’s conclusion, as anything after that moment is entirely irrelevant to my point. The frustration that comes with being reprimanded, or how the consequences made you feel; none of that is anxiety.

Anxiety is what comes right before any of that. It’s extremely similar to dread. In my case, dread and anxiety are almost the same thing. I don’t know if that is how others feel it, I don’t know if it’s more or less severe than someone else’s, but that’s what it’s like for me.

Anxiety is totally normal to feel in the situation you just mentally played out. It’s normal to feel before any important event, really. It’s when that feeling isn’t attached to anything tangible at all that it becomes a problem. In my case, it is a near-constant feeling. It causes me to pace around endlessly, waiting for the life-shattering event that will never come. And there’s nothing there. There is absolutely nothing that I’m dreading, but the dread is still there, as if it knows something that I don’t. It’s fucking terrible. It can be crippling at times; it occasionally leaves me shaking on the floor, desperately sucking in air, like I’m trying to compensate for several years of breathlessness.

I guess they call that one an “anxiety attack.” To me, it just feels like the tension that I always have becomes too much. My chest becomes too tight, my shoulders become too stiff, and my brain starts firing off ideas at a rate that I’m unable to think a single truly-coherent word. And then I collapse. It’s never fast, it’s never dangerous, it’s just a slow-paced motion that moves my body from a standing position to somewhere on the floor.

I’ve been taking medication, and it has definitely taken the edge off. It seems to have come with a price, though. Apparently, there’s a hole inside of me that can only be filled by some sort of negative feeling. When the anxiety that was occupying it goes away, something else has to drift in to take it’s place. Right now, it’s depression.

I never want to leave my sanctuary again. Any attempt at interacting with the outside world is worthless, as I have no place in it. I don’t belong here, I was born broken, why should I bother? Why should I bother? I can’t really play guitar. You call that worthless garbage I make “music?” No one cares anyway. No one wants to listen. If they did, they’d ask. If they asked, I’d say no. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it.

I am completely apathetic to the world around me.

That’s my head right now. I’m going to call the doctor tomorrow and let him know. I have no idea if these feelings are because of my own inadequacy, the change in medication, or both. Or, you know, neither. Depression isn’t a new feeling to me. It could just happen to be flaring up again. I don’t know.

I wish I had some sort of head-space in between “firing on all cylinders” and “there’s fucking nothing, man.” Why do I always go back and forth? Is there no place to stop in between? Is there no alternative direction for the metaphorical traffic in my brain to flow?

I hope I don’t come off as crazy. I hope I don’t seem like I’m just whining. I’m having a rough spell, and I’ve been having it for a long time. I don’t hate my life, I just hate living it.