When you’re walking across campus and there’s a momentary lull it comes in. It starts slowly and almost softly, but then it becomes something that grows and spreads to my whole body.
Severe anxiety, unfortunately, is one of the side effects of the meds that I’m taking. It’s part of my new – and hopefully temporary – reality. Is it really me though? It starts as a ball of ice in my stomach, like that feeling you’d get when you ride a roller coaster, and it’s going up the first hill. Fear spreads, and then you realize that you’re not sure what you’re scared of. It’s a real and palpable fear though, as real as any terror out there. I am tired of it. The anxiety drains me, first the energy from my brain, and then the energy from my body as I try to fight it off.
Almost scarier than the anxiety though, is the medicine that is there to stave it off. After taking it for a month, I feel almost like it’s cutting off an arm to save a leg. It’s rough. The medicine works, in that it calms me down, yes. But at what cost?! The dreaded ball of ice works it’s way outward from my stomach to my arms and hands then legs and feet, finally finishing in my brain as the tears come and I can’t stand it any longer. The pills. Always the pills. They set off a fireworks show in my brain that melts the ice, and calms my fears. But – cutting off an arm, just to save a leg seems like quite the cost.