Inside My Anxious Brain
I wrote the following text two years ago while lying motionless on my bedroom floor. My anxiety was the worst it had ever been, leaving me unable to perform even basic everyday tasks like brushing my teeth or taking a bath. I forced myself to write this down because I wanted to remember what it felt like in that moment, and to be able to explain to people what the inside of my brain felt like.
After two years of therapy and medication, I’m in a much better place. But I never want to forget that time when a future where I could operate normally seemed impossible.
The text begins after this note. I’ve heavily edited it for clarity. If you suffer from a mental illness, this may not be pleasant to read.
Everything feels uncomfortable. Lying down is uncomfortable. Sitting on a chair is uncomfortable. Walking is uncomfortable. There’s a kind of energy in my muscles. A desire to move. To be in a different position from what they are in now. It’s like being in an airplane seat. No matter how I arrange myself, it feels wrong. Uncomfortable.
I can’t think straight. I go to the kitchen to make some food. I pick up the ingredients, but get distracted by the trash that needs to be taken out. I stand in front of the trash bin for a couple of minutes, willing myself to take it out. But I think of having to walk downstairs and come back up and wash my hands and it’s just too much. I go back to the cooking. I realize I forgot the recipe. I pull out my phone. I grab a bag of chips to eat. There’s a new notification on Twitter. I remember I wanted to install the Twitter app on my phone. I go to my computer and watch a 30 minute video about a new game. I’m thirsty. I go to the kitchen for water. What is this rice doing on the shelf? Oh yes, the food. I try to remember the recipe but it’s hard to recall the order the spices have to go in. I pull out my phone. There’s a missed call from Mom. I call back. I try to find something to cook the rice in while talking to Mom. Some cups need to be moved from next to the sink to the cupboard. I pick the cups up and suddenly feel too tired.
I go sit on the couch. I should read a book. I read 10 pages but I can’t remember what I read. I should listen to some music. I look at my list of albums but there’s too much choice. I should see if there’s a new album out. I check a reviews website. I read half an interview with someone and close the tab. I should play a game. But first I’ll respond to email. I open my email but it asks me for a password so I get irritated and close it. I should cook some food.
I go to Twitter and click on an article. I read the first few lines and close the tab. I open the recipe and start collecting the spices. I should just order in. I lie down on the couch.
I constantly want to do something, anything, to take my mind off things. But the moment I start doing anything I lose interest entirely. I hate the music I’m listening to. I hate this book. I hate my phone. I don’t want to be sitting in this chair. Why am I still on this chair? I get up and walk to the couch, I go back to the chair. I refresh Twitter.