The Black Hole of Anxiety
There's something that's beginning to eat away at me.
I like spending my time reading, meditating, on my yoga mat, practicing reiki, and with whatever other tools feel right for growing a life of love. But despite following these enlightening practices, there is a black hole that continues to stalk me.
In all of the inspirational messages surrounding me, I am encouraged to think about the moments where I truly feel alive. I used to carry this very idea with me as a reminder to move beyond fear and strive for a full life, but now when this question is posed to me, I draw a blank.
Then just beyond this blankness I begin to sweat with anxiety that something must be wrong with me. That powerful feeling of alive is trapped in a realm buried deep in my mind, and I haven't heard an echo from it in ages. I relish in surges of positive vibes, but I know with a heart like mine I am capable of greater bliss.
I can say that during many appropriate moments over the last several months, I have begun to feel deep wounds again. It's stronger than anything I've ever allowed myself to feel in the past, and shit f*cking hurts. I'm finally processing ghosts of family members that passed years ago, humiliation from adolescent experiences, and memories of thoughts so dark they make me physically ill...
Which truly is lovely and beautiful.
I was beginning to doubt for a while if I was actually alive, or if this life surrounding me was just some sick hologram constructed to drive me insane. But pain is so real and heartache is so heavy, and feeling hurt means you've done something to live your life despite these inevitable feelings.
But it makes me ache to miss the wonderful emotions, the overwhelming joy that comes from drowning yourself in the blessings of your current moment.
I feel like a walking zombie, no relief of a genuine smile unscathed by background hopelessness. At least now, I can find comfort in being a walking moody zombie. I've got my gloom back, I'm getting there at least. I feel like there is some kind of life to attach to my being now, something I've discovered within me that I can wrap my arms around and hold and love. Because I've witnessed this darker half of me arising and reforming, I can have hope that lighter moments will also begin to flood my life again soon.
There are times I look around me and know I should be happy, when I am surrounded by loved ones and in some fantastic place. During these times I feel content, satisfied, and comforted in the outer layers, but inside I never stop thinking, it's all for nothing.
It's so strange to see these words written out, to attach them to my identity and admit that they go on inside my head. I want to scroll back through this whole thing with a heavy backspace button, relinquish my desire to talk about such ominous emotions, and deny that they belong to me at all.
I get so caught up with my daily lists and chores and events that I forget to acknowledge the bleak thoughts rising up. Hopeless thought patterns spin around my subconscious, and if I forget to slow down, I continue to live by them unknowingly.
The greatest of these thought cycles comes from my lack of faith. I unforgivably dwell on my disbelief of a higher power, a divine life purpose, or a consciousness beyond our time here on earth. I try to tell myself that it doesn't matter, that the current moment I have might as well be enjoyed regardless of what future moments promise to bring, but I always circle back around again.
I've convinced myself I am selfish for feeling so lost in this hopelessness. I have a stock of human things to be thankful for, and I am on a spiritual path of self-discovery that many will never have the opportunity to experience for themselves. I scold myself for being so greedy as to soak up a blessed life on this planet and not appreciate it in every way.
But I know how much I want to. More than anything else, I crave to ease the suffering of other human beings. The only deeply fulfilling moments in my life come from hearing stories of others who tell me my writing has helped them with their journey.
And I love this, and it's wonderful. I am honored to have found a calling genuinely caring for others. But despite all of the inspiration and courage I attempt to pass on, I can't seem to follow my own advice to joy. I have yet to uncover the wisdom that could bring me the peace to let these anxieties go.
I'm so anxious to move forward, that I struggle against at least one thing I know I really need...
I need to learn to slow down. I have said this for a long time now and I am sick of hearing myself repeat the phrase, but it means different things to me all the time. I transitioned from a nine-to-five I hated to two part-time jobs I love, but I found this wasn't enough. I removed unnecessary obligations that were controlling my life and instead filled my time with productive activities I enjoy. But still, my mind races and my body fights stillness.
There is a subtle calm somewhere waiting for me to accept my life as it is and find my loving home within. Perhaps tapping into this well of acceptance will give me the courage to feel completely alive again.
There are too many realities I let myself cower from, and I use bucket lists and productivity as excuses to ignore them. My favorite inspirations surround me with compassionate tales of extreme living, filled with glorious highs and massive lows. I've felt the lows, I am learning the highs, but there's an in-between I run from.
It's a terrifying place where I am alone, and there is nothing to do but sit with myself and be okay with who I am. The thought of accepting the most basic realities of my life, like loss and death, churns my stomach and throws me into a panic. But the part of me that always longs for more lunges at the chance of a new heart-opening thrill.
Living my life without the grip of anxiety is a fearless freedom I've never even dared to dream about. The chance to make this fantasy real, to explore my life and this world in absolute freedom, will show me the strength I've been avoiding, and give me a grander life than I ever thought I deserved.