High Anxiety*

I’m going to try to describe Anxiety.  It’s much misunderstood I think.  

There’s a wren flying around the house, trying to get out and she can’t and you’re chasing after her, trying to coax her towards the door and you’ve got to got to got to chase her out because you’re off on holiday for a week and she’ll die in the house and when you return she’ll be dead and you will have killed her and you’re chasing after her.  You’re in your dressing gown and Mum’s in her dressing gown, brandishing a plastic tub and she’s trying to trap the bird between the tub and the window or the floor or anything but the bird’s too fast.

The wren flies into your mouth and down your oesophagus.  And the flapping wings of the tiny terrified bird are beating in your head now, and in your throat and in your heart and your heart beats too fast and your chest is tight.  The bird continues to flutter around your body, inside.  She flies around your stomach and your brain.  It doesn’t stop.  

This is anxiety.  It’s different from a panic attack: it goes on and on and on.  It can attach to anything.  For me, it often attaches to journeys and the idea of not-being-on-time.  

It happens when my mood is too high, or too low, or sometimes it just comes out of nowhere.  I can be in a safe place and suddenly the bird is flapping around inside my head and my stomach and I have to leave wherever I am.  

Leaving somewhere helps, at least for a few minutes.  Sometimes, I just wake up and the wren is flapping around inside my head and I wonder what I’ve forgotten to do or something.  Or I’ll be going about my daily life and then, out of nowhere, the wren flies down my throat and I have to drop whatever I’m doing and run outside.

I’m in the restaurant where I went with the Captain, sitting at the same table in the conservatory.  The ominous rumble of the train passing overhead reminds me that I’m half an hour early for my lunch appointment.  And of course I’m worrying that they’ll be late because I just am.  Maybe they’ll be early, I can but hope.  Wow, that would be amazing.

And of course I need a wee but I can’t go till they get here because…I don’t know.

Ah my Seb!  A message! “Phone seems to be working now, which is good.  How are you?”

Phew.  Wasn’t looking forward to the incompetence that would result from him attempting to visit me whilst phoneless.

Attached is a photo of Thug the Pygmy hippo.  No-one can be anxious whilst looking at him.

Happy Friday everyone!
*1977.  Mel Brooks parodies Hitchcock films.  How have I never seen this?

9 thoughts on “High Anxiety*

  1. Such an enlightening read on something that’s so misunderstood. Thank you for sharing. I’ve re-blogged and posted links – hope that’s ok?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I reckon the fear of public speaking would trigger this in me, and if I’m ever going to be an author this is what I shall have to overcome. With this in mind I’m joining a meet up group for people like me with this fear. Your post expresses those anxious symptoms so well, it is hard to imagine how it feels unless you have experienced those emotions yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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