Anxiety feels like failure, no matter how well life is going.

It feels like panic.

Impending doom.

Throat clenched, stomach in knots. Like there is another person inside, scratching to get out of this body.

It’s worst case scenario.

Anxiety is high alert. On edge. Ready to scream out in pain.

It’s head spinning, ulcer-inducing, stomach aches.  

Irrational what if’s. Nothing makes sense. Deep breaths.

Mantras out the window. All the inspirational memes are bullshit. This is reality.

Anxiety is shortness of breath, can’t focus or get any work done.

It’s smiling so no one knows you’re about to lose your shit.

Heart racing. Tears start flowing. Can’t control my thoughts, emotions or my body.

It’s wondering if I’m having a heart attack. Am I going to throw up in public today?

It’s isolation. Canceled plans. Calling in sick.

Spontaneous and uncontrollable crying.

Anxiety is physically painful, mentally exhausting.

It’s staring at a blank wall, waiting for it to pass.

It’s fighting with every voice in my head, telling my thoughts (ego?) to shut the fuck up already.

It strikes when I least expect it, and always when I expect it.  

It makes me second (third/fourth/fifth) guess every decision I make.  

It feels like a big, unwelcome bear hug, squeezing all of the air out of my lungs.

It’s itchy skin. Bugs crawling on my arms.

It’s a nervous cough. Biting my nails. Scratching my head.

Anxiety is emptiness, when I’m so full. It steals moments and memories.

It tricks me into thinking I’m bad, wrong, powerless, useless.

It tricks me into playing it safe, that my dreams are too big. My heart too open.

It keeps me in bed, paralyzed some days.

Anxiety tries to tell me what I can and cannot do.

It tells me I’m unable to make powerful decisions. I must rely on others to affirm my choices.

It’s knowing I’m irrational, and not knowing how to make it stop.

It’s going forward anyway.

It’s swallowing that lump in my throat and saying YES.

Moments of clarity remind me I’ll be ok.  This too shall pass.