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Submitted on
September 13, 2010
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(Contains: strong language)

It was coming back again. It always came back. You beat the monster until it was bruised and bloody and ducked its head away. You pounded against it until your fingers broke, twisted and crooked and sticking out at all the wrong angles.

But it kept coming back.

You had to fight it, because you couldn't run. Running made things worse. It would come, its form obscured by the darkness that follows it. You run from what you can't see, but it always finds you. It wraps around you, suffocating. Your throat closes, your lungs collapse, suffocating. It squeezes its long fingers just a little tighter around your neck. Your heart pumps nothing but fear until you wish it would pump nothing at all. Anything but this. Squeeze a little tighter, monster. Suck the life out of me, fiend.

So you can't run. Running is giving in. Running is handing yourself over to the monster. Running is your death sentence

I know that now. I know standing to fight is harder. Your body shakes like Haiti. The ground rolls under your feet while you square your shoulders and take a deep breath. You stare it down. Eyes glare back at you. Not red or yellow or any color—just eyes. Staring. Waiting. And you charge before it can put you in its toxic grip.

I start with a kick, with a strength that doesn't belong to me. It's been borrowed from someplace else: a friend, a song.

And sometimes the kick lands. The monster's claws disappear. Then come the punches. They come from yourself, from your strength, and you know that the monster is no match for you. It howls and slides back into its darkness where it lived before. You step out of the arena. Bruises color your skin, your swollen lips bleed, your blood mixes with your hair. But they heal and harden and turn into scars, and your scars are your pride. From them, you become stronger. The more you have, the better you can fight.

And sometimes the kick misses and your punches shatter your bones instead of the monster's. You stumble away and wipe the tears and snot off. You look in the mirror, look at your face—your nose, your teeth, everything—and everything is wrong.

No, you don't know how I feel.
I have an anxiety disorder, and after a lifetime of struggling against it, I thought I finally conquered it. Unfortunately, as these things are wont to do, it came back and the usual stuff I did isn't helping nearly as much as it used to. I've been trying to put everything I feel into words for such a long time, but poems never seemed to do this inescapable fear justice. After a particulary bad night, I just started writing, hoping it would be theraputic. And, actually, it was.

The second reason for writing this is because of that stupid line, "I understand" or "I know how you feel". Few things piss me off more than that. No, you don't understand. Unless you've ever had a panic attack in the middle of class caused by the THOUGHT of talking in front of everyone, unless it takes you an hour to write a one paragraph e-mail because you're afraid to get a response, no, you don't know what it's like.

I also joined a creative writing group on campus and didn't have anything to share. I'm long-winded and really uncomfortable sharing my writing with people face-to-face. I think I would like to bring this in, though.

EDIT: adnfmda;lfeo HOW?! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! ikandf;adsnfads;nf :iconohnoesplz:

I am so humbled and honored that simple, raw piece got a DD. I'm I'm just blown away. I'll try to respond to everyone's comments. And a huge-ass thank you to :iconneurotype: and espcially :iconcionie: and :iconnecrotiger:, two more brave and talented individuals. Give them some love!

I feel like I should give some sage advice to others who have problems with anxiety, but there's no easy fix for anything like this. Just know that you are not alone, and YOU ARE FUCKING AWESOME.

EDIT 2: I wasn't expecting so many people to tell me their personal stories, or just saying that they were glad that they didn't feel alone anymore. I wrote a journal entry for those struggling with anxiety, going through the different types, techniques most commonly used to treat it, and my own tips and tricks: [link]
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-03-05
~QuixoticApricot "passionately describes the struggle with social anxiety disorder" in I Know How You Feel (suggester's words). ( Suggested by Neccers and Featured by neurotype )
ArrowDel Mar 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Totally relate, I used to have to carry an inhaler around partially because I am asthmatic, but also because simply being asked a question in class and being expected to answer with everyone else there...would set it off. The thought of it still sets my heart thumping... I'm very lucky now that since I've gotten older I have friends that sort of understand what I go through and will actively cover for me now.
QuixoticApricot Apr 2, 2013  Professional Writer
My friends are pretty much my saving grace. This was written during my senior year of college when I was dreading leaving school and all of them. I'm glad you have friends that understand...I don't know how I would have gotten through the past six years without mine.
izzabelable Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Perfect, thank you...l can tell that YOU know how I feel...and that's amazing..thank you
QuixoticApricot Apr 2, 2013  Professional Writer
:hug: Thank you.
QuixoticApricot Apr 2, 2013  Professional Writer
Thank you.
CheshireCat521 Mar 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I fear presentation so much. Just thinking about it can break me down to tears. It's like my whole world is going to dimolish... Thx so much for writing this and making me realize I'm not alone. My classmates are mean ppl. When I freak out, I was left alone in my tears and I felt so cold. Thx for warming me up. A well deserved DD!
QuixoticApricot Apr 1, 2013  Professional Writer

I firmly believe that presentations are sent from hell to make us miserable. I've always tried to skip school on days when I had to present something, but I always found putting it off just made it worse. I'm sorry your classmates don't seem to understand. :( What's effortless for someone is sheer misery for someone else. But you're not alone, and I hope that you find something that helps you make it through, and people who understand.
I'm glad this got a DD, I hope more people will understand. I have an anxiety disorder too. I ge so annoyed with people who tell me it's just in my head. I'm in high school, and none of my teachers understand the disorder. They don't get why I shake so much presenting stuff. :P Thanks for writing this, though.
QuixoticApricot Apr 1, 2013  Professional Writer
High school was...hell. I would try to skip school on days when I had to present something, I've run out of classrooms crying before, and I nearly failed chemistry because I couldn't attend the study group that everyone else in my school went to. Things got so much better for me when I got to college and made some of the most awesome friends I've ever had. Before a couple discussion classes I took, I explained to my professors that I have anxiety problems and just asked them to be patient with me. They were pretty obliging once I told them and helped me get through those terrible presentations. I hope you get through high school and find people who understand and accept you just the way you are. :hug: I've been there, and it's awful, but things do get better.
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