Dear, Self.

You’re sleeping soundly, for now. I don’t let you get much sleep anymore. I awake you abruptly leaving you shaking, panting, and scared. You have no idea where you are. You’re looking around, taking in your surroundings. You start to calm down a bit, but you still don’t feel safe. So, you quietly and shakily get out of bed and head to the end of the hall. You crawl into the tiny linen closet, one of the places where you feel safe. Eventually, you’re able to calm down, but I’m not going to let you go back to sleep. Now is a good time for me to remind you of your insecurities and worst fears. The one you love is sleeping soundlessly in the next room, having no idea what is going on in this head of yours. Having no idea what I’m doing to you.

You know you’re not good enough for her, right? You’re completely worthless. You don’t deserve these two people, who you love so dearly. They’re both too good for you. They deserve someone who is so much better, prettier, and skinnier than you. I don’t know what they see in you. You deserve to be alone. Yeah, that’s right, curl up in a ball. You know I’m right.

The light has left your eyes, I made sure of that. You may be able to fake a smile to the outside world, but I know how unhappy you are on the inside. If I have any say the light will stay out of your eyes. You can tell she sees it. You’re not the same girl she fell in love with. You’re not the spunky, sarcastic, cheery girl that you were so long ago. You’re just a mere shell of your old self. Everyone is starting to notice. Your boss even asks you if everything is okay. I’m slowly taking over.

You’ve been in your ball, crying, for a few hours now; but guess what? It’s time for your worthless behind to get up and get ready for work. So, you crawl out of the closet and go to the kitchen to make breakfast for yourself and her. All the while trying to pretend you’re strong and haven’t been crying for hours. We both know you’re weak. After breakfast, you get dressed, brush your teeth, and go through your normal morning routine. You picked out an outfit the night before that is cute, cause you wanted to look good the next day. Bad news, you look terrible. You’re fat, your thighs look huge, and your hair looks terrible. She tells you that you look beautiful and she loves you. You smile and say, “if you say so. I love you too.” You give her a kiss and leave for work.

You get to work and try to act like you’re happy and in a good mood. Like you haven’t had a breakdown already today. You do your job, but nothing is working. You can’t do it. You can’t do anything right. Your heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallow. You head to the bathroom so your coworkers don’t know what is happening. After you’re able to calm down you ask your boss if you can leave because, believe it or not, he’s an understanding guy. You get to leave.

Once you’re home she’s asking, “why are you home? You know we need money for the bills. You have no reason to be having a panic attack” She doesn’t understand. She thinks you’re faking it just to get out of work.

~~~~~~~~~~

Things have been good for a few days. You got to see him. He understands. He makes you feel better; like you’re not crazy. You think maybe the new medicine is working. You’ll see later.

You and her needed things for the house, so you go to the store. You get all the stuff you need and head for the checkout line. People. So many people. Your heart rate increases. She asks, “are you okay?” You shake your head, no, and she gives an exasperated sigh and tells you to go to the car. You know you’ll be getting a long text about how tired she is of this. I told you that you weren’t good enough. No sooner than y’all arrive home and you get to the bedroom you receive a text. “I feel like you’re using anxiety as a cover so you don’t have to deal with stuff in a relatively normal manner. I shouldn’t have to make your appointments, go with you to every one of them, and hold your hand. You’re an adult. You should be able to go out in public alone and be alone. I feel like your mom and your babysitter. This has got to stop.” The tears are rolling down your face now. I told you that you weren’t good enough. She’s going to get tired of you and leave you. Everyone is going to leave you. I’m going to make sure of that. I’m going to be that constant nagging voice in the back of your mind constantly reminding you that you suck, you’re worthless, you don’t deserve to be happy. The only thing you deserve is a life of loneliness and isolation.

You had a fight with her. Nothing unusual these days. She’s been talking to someone else. Pushing you away. Trying to make you be okay with her bringing her friend over. You told her that you can’t be around people, but she keeps on pestering. Even saying, “she’ll bring you cheesecake if she can come.” You finally snap and leave the room. You seek isolation in the bathroom. Perfect! As you’re running your bath I can remind you that you’re not worth it. This other person is better than you are. That’s why she wants her to come over. Your heart starts to race. Your breathing is rapid and shallow. You’re hyperventilating; just what I wanted. I’ve never made you pass out before, now is my chance. Just then she walks in and holds you and starts to calm you down. She tells you that she’s sorry and that you’re amazing. I hope you know she’s lying to you. You’re not worth it. You’re not amazing. She has feelings for this other person. All because you suck and she’s giving her what you can’t. You’re absolutely worthless and she’s going to leave you. Leave you for someone who is so much better. Then, I’ll take over.

In the moments when my voice is loudest and you’re at your weakest, you wonder things; like would the world be better off without me? And should I just end it all? You wonder how she would react walking into your shared bedroom as she gets home from work and seeing your lifeless body lying across the bed. The empty bottle in your hand. Or how he would react to you not responding to his text messages and calls. Would he be worried? Would he rush to see what was going on? How would she react? What about him, would he care at all? Would she care at all? No, they wouldn’t because you’re worthless. You mean nothing to no one. They wouldn’t care at all seeing your useless self lying there, cold to the touch with lifeless eyes. No one would care. No one would shed a tear for you. You get a text from her telling her she loves you and a message from him saying he misses you. Suddenly the thought is leaving your mind. I’m losing my grip.

They don’t know about the countless times that I’ve made you cry yourself to sleep at night. While you shower or bathe. The thoughts that I make run through your mind, just to drive you insane. I love seeing you at your weakest. I will take over. Watching you cry alone, gives me great joy. You don’t want anyone to think you’re weak, you don’t want to bother them. So, you seek the solitude of the linen closet or the bathroom. No one knows you’ve been crying while you’re showering. You’re doing your best to shake me off. Good luck.

A few days later you see him. He constantly tells you that you’re not crazy and that he understands. He makes you feel loved and protected. He’s never once made you feel like you have to suffer alone. He knows me as well. He’s heard my voice in his head. He holds you and wipes your tears that fall as you have another attack; another victory for me. He sends you texts telling you how much you mean to him, that he loves you, and will never leave you. That makes you smile. You are starting to see a small light. A light that you haven’t seen in a while.

She’s getting less frustrated with you when you have an attack. You’re starting to feel like all of those talks trying to explain to her what’s going on in your head are starting to make sense. She’s back, telling you how much you mean to her, how you mean the world to her. She never wants to lose you. How she thought she’d lost you because the light left your eyes. You were just a shell of your former self. You weren’t the girl she fell in love with. She apologizes for not understanding and for having moments of treating you badly. She holds you when you have your weak moments, and wipes your tears. She tells you how strong and beautiful you are. She tells you that you can come back from this and that she’s going to be there every step of the way. Maybe she does love you after all. You may think that, but I’m going to make you think otherwise.

You’ve been on the new medicine for about a month now. I’m having to scream louder and louder for you to hear me. You’re smiling more; the light is starting to come back in your eyes. You’re starting to sing again, something that you did daily before my voice became one of the only things you heard. You’re cracking jokes and making people smile, and I hate it. I want to be in your mind making you feel like the worthless piece of scum you are. Every now and again I can make my voice loud enough to be heard. Maybe you’re starting to realize that they may not be leaving you after all. Trust me though; I’ll always be here. Poking and prodding until I make my way back inside your mind. And this time I will take over. Until that day, I’ll be here, silently waiting.

Sincerely,

Your Anxiety

 

Written by: Lauren Robbins

 

 

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