I have an anxiety hangover. The kind where my hands are still shaky, my muscles sore, and my nerves trigger-happy-jumpy. Sometimes I forget how this feels. Sometimes I just want to forget how it feels. Long stretches of time unravel, like the highway to Las Vegas, with the horizon out there in what looks like forever. In anxiety’s absence, I forget that we know each other at all. And then I remember.
Anxiety, and its wallup of fear and pain and overwhelm that it deals, has always been something I’ve dealt with alone. I’ve never wanted to burden anyone else with it, and honestly, there’s never been anyone who really wanted to be there for me. On the contrary, even as a young girl, the people who were meant to care for me the most would have an assortment of adverse reactions to me falling apart. Anger, disappointment, and abandonment. I’ve always been the strong one. A role that I didn’t define, or consent to, but that was conscribed to me anyway.
Strong people don’t need help. I’ve been told that more times than I care to remember, and treated that way even more than that.
“A Better Son/Daughter” by Rilo Kiley
from the album, The Execution of All Things (2002)
“Sometimes in the morning,
I am petrified and can’t move.
but cannot open my eyes.”
And the weight is crushing down,
on my lungs –
I know I can’t breathe,
and hope someone will save me this time.”
Last night though, the man that I love with every molecule that I’m made of, was there for me through it. Holding me. Letting me cry. Listening. Loving me even as a vulnerable mess. It meant more than I can say.
To love someone who loves you. To love someone who has rough moments, too. To love someone who you can open up to completely and trust not to be abandon. To love someone who goes walking at midnight to get things to make “middle of the night” root beer floats with you, that you eat together half-naked, in the dark, kissing in-between the sugar-sweet-shock to the system.
I’m so grateful for him.
“A Better Son/Daughter” (live) by Jenny Lewis
“But you’ll fight,
and you’ll make it through,
you’ll fake it if you have to,
and you’ll show up for work with a smile.
And, you’ll be better,
and you’ll be smarter,
and more grown up,
and a better daughter,
and a real good friend.
And, you’ll be awake,
you’ll be alert,
you’ll be positive,
though it hurts,
and you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends.
You’ll be a real good listener,
you’ll be honest,
you’ll be brave,
you’ll be handsome,
and you’ll be beautiful.
You’ll be happy.”