There it was, pumping through my veins. Inside my body, engulfing me like quicksand. It had crept up on me, yet I knew it was coming. Like a bolt of lightning in a thunderstorm, expectant but frightening none the less. I had ignored the warning signs, again.

It was in my throat, my lungs, my ribs. I could feel the pull, the stretch to absolute tension as if my body were three metres long. The impending breaking point. My jaw ached from clenching my teeth. My eye sockets tender, feeling like fragments of broken glass had been inserted into my retinas. My stomach made sounds only heard in a cartoon.

The anger that I let it happen again was rising within me. That I exploited and exposed myself to feeling this way. On repeat. The limit that was exceeded. The cup that had no more space to fill yet was poured into without consideration.

The dull ache in my torso that I ignored for days. The heavy limbs and tender scalp, making my skull feel as fragile as a newly laid egg. The creeping cough that came in as I struggled to get my full lung of air for a week. The realisation, the comprehension that it will take weeks to reverse. The same pattern I had exposed myself to time and time again. The lesson I had failed to learn. The familiar feeling of resentment going side by side with this acquainted sensation.

The interrupted sleep, waking alert at 3:22am that first night. Followed by the same time the next night and the next until I break the pattern with body polluting medication. Pop, the sound of the blister pack opening. The blue tablet looking at me, it’s etchings virtually grinning, knowing it controls my respite.

Lying in bed, in the silence, almost hearing the cogs of my brain start turning. The engine of my mind revving with my to do list and my overwhelming panic that I didn’t do a task. The cold sweat. The vice like headband pulsating my temples. The stomach somersaults. My hungry second brain. But it isn’t hunger, it’s something much more insatiable. Like an addict’s need to get their fix, my stomach calls to me to do something. To stop. To start. To scream. I do nothing. I stare at the wall, it blends into my vision like water swirling down a plughole. I breath. I count my pulse. I think of anything, nothing, to slow the pace.

I’m in that stage between sleep and full awakening. Body battling with brain. Not quite lucid, not giving up on slumber. Escaping my thoughts, I will myself to return to sleep. Eventually, I succumb. 5 hours 09 my Fitbit tells me in the morning. I’ve had worse nights sleep. But that feeling is still there, mixed in with the sensation that my head feels heavier than a Great Dane.

The weight of the world on your shoulders, is that where the saying comes from? A heavy head? Saturated with thoughts? Thoughts of uncertainty, decisions and incompetence. Analysing, dissecting, regurgitating worry. Worry of that time a dear friend told me stress would give me cancer. Worry that my heart feels sore, like I’ve done 100 press ups even before breakfast. That I still want my mother to hug me and tell me all will be ok.

I lecture myself. I know better than this. I know what to do, I know the solution. I repeat it over and over, yet the same mistake is made. No shock or surprise, just tired and deflated. I must try harder.

The neglect to my self-care. My insidious anxiety. I must try harder.


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