Running Out of Air

“Can’t we just cry until we can’t breathe?” The movie plays, answered by the scattered laughter.

I sit in silence, struck once again with the horrible realization that no one understands.

No one understands the feeling of having so many emotions battle in your head that you can’t function until you reach the point of total exhaustion.

That feeling and I are close friends, we’ve battled over my mind on many different scenarios.

It usually won.

Which left me, folded into the corner, the cool plaster of my wall on either side, the lights off and a blanket firmly around my shaking shoulders.

Tears would roll down my face, soaking the shirt fabric encasing the elbow where I burrowed to hide my sobs.

I would run out of air before I ran out of tears.

Blackness would hint at the edges of my vision as I gasped for the shocking relief of more air.

The fire that ran through my chest was welcome at that point.

Anything to remind me that I was really there, that I was still alive and could feel anything at all.

I guess knowing that no one else feels this way just makes my mind that much more fucked up.

Because it is not just anxiety.

It isn’t just being worried about getting a good GPA so you can keep a scholarship.

It’s so much more.

It’s a crawling feeling under your skin when you are around people too much.

It’s being unable to be comfortable in someone else’s area because one it’s not yours, and two you know how draining it is to have someone in your space and you don’t want to do that to another person, whether or not they actually have that issue.

It’s always second guessing if people actually want to be around you, or if they only invited you along because you were there and they felt bad.

It’s constantly thinking about why you weren’t asked to do something as simple as watch a movie with other people only a few doors down the hall.

It’s wanting so badly to go hang out with people but knowing in your mind that you are too tired for human interaction and then you feel terrible because you missed out on the memories and you could have been there if only your mind didn’t hate itself and need a day to itself.

It’s wondering if your teacher secretly hates you because you talk too much, or too little, and never knowing if what you are doing is good enough for those you respect.

It’s knowing that if you told anyone that your anxiety was acting up, the first question they would ask is “what’s wrong” when the whole point about anxiety issues is that it isn’t about one specific thing, it’s about life in general and they don’t know that so why even tell them.

It’s not being able to voice your opinion because you are so scared that you are going to ruin friendships that you believe are at risk of ending anyways. And when you do speak up, because you can’t sit there in silence when people are unable to be decent human beings, you spend the next four hours worrying that your friends think differently of you.

It’s having to stop doing something because you made just a few small errors, nothing that couldn’t be fixed, but for some reason even typing a letter wrong just makes you slam the computer closed and crawl back into bed.

It’s becoming so frustrated over the tiniest things, like someone reminding you something, or your room not being clean, or some random pain in your wrist or head that won’t go away, or not being able to hit the right notes in a song, or even the fact that you are crying over something… Being so stonewalled by everything that you can’t even move, and you are so tired that you don’t even want to.

It’s wanting to drown yourself in vodka or tequila but being so scared that something, anything could go wrong that you can’t help but stop drinking after you get the tiniest bit tipsy, because you can’t handle letting something else other than anxiety take over your life, take over your head, even if it’s just for a few hours. So you don’t have more than a few drinks, and you never get drunk enough to actually let go.

It’s knowing that you could be on medication for the way you are feeling but you are so scared about having to spend your parent’s money that you don’t even go to the clinic when you’re sick just in case you have to go to an actual doctor. And worrying over the fact that your family may not be able to keep sending you back to the place you call home.

It’s about being scared to tell your family how bad your anxiety actually is because you know your mother has it too and if she starts worrying about you then you are going to feel like a shitty kid and oh wait you already do because you can’t help but to disagree with them about practically everything and you want to be better for them but you can’t, that’s not how it works, and your anxiety gets worse because your mother is worrying and then she worries more and it could set off a chain that would never fucking end.

It’s needing a physical shoulder to cry on but knowing the only people who will understand, who won’t make it about themselves or try to tell you that they’ve had it worse or that you can just get over it… knowing those people are unreachable the way you need them and that you just have to fight for yourself.

It’s worrying that you will never find a group of people that make that loneliness in your chest settle, needing a family to give you the strength and joy to get up in the morning but realizing you may never find it.

It’s sitting alone in a dark room, wrapped up in your favorite blanket, drowning yourself in silence, the attempt for warmth, and the night, and suddenly breaking down for no reason. Because sometimes, it just hits you, everything that is wrong with your life just weighs down on your mind in such a short span of time that you split in half, shuddering as a chill envelops your entire body until the tears begin to leak from your eyes, taking you down a well-worn path into sobbing silently into the sweet bliss of dreamless sleep.

It’s being way too good at hiding the fact you were just crying.

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