Anxiety has been getting the best of me lately. I can see it in the unfolded laundry sitting wrinkled in the basket. It's in my refrigerator - I've been cooking too much and eating too little. Tsking at myself for the things slowly going rancid. What a waste. Of money. Of time. Of space. These things I also think of myself.
Blank slots of time are to be filled with activity, mindless and unimportant. Checking my phone, tidying, working out when my body is already sore. I try to read, but I'm distracted so easily. It's taken me months to finish a single book. Running out of things to do, words to say is a nasty chasm begging to swallow me.
When I get in bed at night, when I finally stop moving, exhaustion rolls over my body like a supercharged steamroller. I'm flattened beneath it. And the thoughts, without a task ahead of me, without a goal to focus on and finish, they roam to sad places, seeping through the same cracks where the exhaustion crept in. There isn't room enough inside me, so they make it for themselves by displacing saline that runs hot down my cheeks. I don't even try to stop it anymore. I just let it wash over me, allow the sobs to rack what's left of me as I pull the blankets over my head and wait for it to pass.
I never say "I'm not okay." I never say "I need help." These would be lies. Okay is an eventuality. Help won't get me there any faster. To those I trust, I will say "I can't stop crying. My eyelids are too swollen to open all the way. I just want to sleep and maybe not wake up." There are times when they will tell me that help is only a medicine cabinet and twenty minutes away. That I don't deserve to suffer alone or to suffer at all. Those are the moments when I will listen. I will kneel at the altar of modern chemistry and take the communion that separates me from the riot inside. But these moments are few. I can so easily recognize how these little yellow helpers can become a way of life. The ability to see the same thoughts in a completely new light, as if they belonged to someone else and can't touch you anymore, fanged butterflies in a bell jar.