By Jac Morrison
I have always felt I was a person for whom there was just not enough space. Not enough room for my arms to stretch out comfortably. Not enough distance between long legs and solid ground. With my fingertips pressed high to the sun, toes extended and chest open, the air still swallows me whole; collapsing my lungs and crushing my bones. Even when I am small I feel as if I am taking up an uncomfortable amount of room, inconveniencing those close to me. My rough edges pressing them into corners and marking their skin with abrasions.
That's it. Abrasions. I feel abrasive.
The truth is anxiety controls my life. It swells my flesh and balloons inside of me until I am so inflated I feel I do not fit anywhere. Not in spaces with the ones I love. Not in social conversations. Not in love, or in hate or anything in between. My swollen nervousness makes me feel like a burden to all that surround me.
I am not alone, and it is not all in our heads.
The truth is, anxiety is misunderstood by those who do not suffer from it. It is not the same as the butterflies you feel before a presentation. Not comparable to the quiet worry before an interview.
Anxiety is loud. Anxiety is consuming. Anxiety is constant. Anxiety is impenetrable.
The truth is, we are tired of being misunderstood. Tired of being told to calm down. Tired of being labeled as psycho. Tired of why are you so worried? Tired of just get over it and stop thinking about it and you know how many people have it worse than you and you are too much to handle.
The truth is, none of us chose our weird brains. There was no "opt out of nervousness" option. No "check here for mental stability." No magic menu at conception where our souls proclaimed yes, I would like a large lack of serotonin and a side of self loathing please. Oh and don't forget the excessive worry and uncertainty!
The truth is, if you do not suffer from anxiety you could not possibly understand what it means to feel too big for the space you're allotted. What it means to feel less like a person and more like a burden. What it means to be told you are not strong enough when the air around you seems to weigh a thousand pounds.
The truth is, we are so much stronger than we are given credit for. Strength is not measured in calm moments, but in perseverance through the frantic ones.