Fear of Falling, Fear of Open Sky

P1030194

I peer over the edge, feet planted
firmly on rock.
Where did this fear come from?
My hands quiver. I worry
I will fall straight off the face of the Earth.
I am scared I will fly into the abyss,
lose control
in my panicking.
My knees knock with fright.
It’s hard to look up at all the mountain peaks
surrounding me, even though they are
so beautiful, so majestic.
Hard to breathe.
Hard to swallow.
My heart is racing.
I used to be able to do this.
Now I feel unsafe.
I try to breathe deep and slow,
fight the urge to cling to the meager,
scrappy weeds pushing up through the granite.
But if I sit down,
the sky might crush me.
I might not be able to get up ever again.
Tears start to drop from my cheeks
more quickly. I’m frustrated.
So frustrated that I can’t do this.
I want to be okay.
I want to feel comfortable here.
I can’t stop sobbing
and feeling helpless.
Why do I feel unsafe
when there is stable ground beneath my feet?

Trapped

I try to reach across the gear shift to grasp your hand
to show you it’s all going to be okay,
to tell you I love you, I care.
I want to hold you.

But I remain frozen and numb, my eyes glued to the train
clanging past in a blur. Fingers scratching circles
on the steering wheel with bitten fingernails.
My mouth stays shut.

I pretend I am a normal girl on this blue sunny day.
The words I should say run laps in my head.
Sadness is welling up in my stomach, for when you leave.
My eyes still won’t meet yours.

You open the door of the car as it’s still moving.

Later.

I watch your tousled hair and black jacket get smaller and smaller.
Soon the emotions will fill me up.

Later.

Fear from the window

Throw open the curtains of fear and doubt–
your eyes take in your future as they look out.
The window glass heavy and tainted with time,
the Three Fates are weaving line after line.
Breathe in bright hope and hold your lungs full,
for resignation calls out with a leaded-hand pull.
Ask fire from your lovers and strength from your friends,
for none of us knows if this fear ever ends.

Self-Harm

is agitated ticking, tapping
snapping, drumming, thrumming
with anger turned towards my
dumb bones, a humming drone
from the abyss, I scream
I hate myself even though
I don’t, I want to die although
I won’t. Curse my genes.
Rip me at the seams, snip my
threads, I want to bleed,
to bash my skull on concrete
and wash my conscience clean.
I scar like trees from wildfire,
knotted lines of lies I heard,
taught to hurt my own skin first
or worse, pretend there’s nothing
there at all. Before too long,
the storm will pass and blossoms
bloom. Red fruits burst forth
from coal-black gloom.

Affirmations to Counter Anxiety

I’ve collected these from around the Internet and adapted them to resonate with me.
Please use them if you find them helpful!

P1010600

-I don’t need to fight my anxiety. It is just a habit my body reacts to. I will find feelings of peace, security, and confidence and accept them.

-I am capable of solving any problems I face.

-This might seem difficult right now, but it will become easier and easier over time.

-Everything I need comes to me at the right time.

-Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone brings me amazing opportunities.

-I let go of the judgements I make about myself, and others will do the same.

P1010638

And my favorite…

I can do this. I am a badass boss bitch!

———–

Credits: http://www.dumblittleman.com ; https://www.powerofpositivity.com ; http://www.anxietynetwork.com

A Slice of Paradise

I worked hard to challenge my anxiety this weekend– by trying to stay flexible, be practical, open, and treat myself with compassion and understanding.

P1030102

It’s exhausting to be anxious and trying not to panic for an entire day. It’s also difficult to explain to others just what’s going on with me. I was rather quiet and withdrawn at times.

P1030103

Thankfully I managed to calm myself down and eventually enjoy my time in the lovely North Cascades National Park. As you can see, it was gorgeous.

P1030111

I refuse to let fear dictate what I will do and where I will go!

P1030113

She

She was a child with a fear of fire.
She was a child with dreams of art
and nightmares of death
and dying and killing.

She became a woman with a story
clutched to her chest.
She was a woman always walking,
and sometimes faltering,
but never stopping.

She becomes a master of solitude.
She is like a deep lake;
emerald near the shore and
the color of lapis lazuli at the center.

It is painful to know fear so intimately.
It is exhausting to embrace it,
to cradle it in your arms.
Still, she tries
and tries.

Nature and Healing Anxiety

I grew up outdoors. My parents started taking me hiking and backpacking when I was very young. I began learning to ski at age 4. I have spent many days wandering the Cascades, the Chuckanuts, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and so on. Since I was a child, I have felt comfortable in the wilderness.

P1020409

But now, my anxiety has been creeping up. Slowly and then all at once, as they say. The thing about this chronic anxiety (at least, what I’m experiencing) is that it slowly becomes more and more generalized. I used to be somewhat afraid of heights. Now I become anxious while on bridges, in skyscrapers, in planes, atop cliffs, on mountains, and while hiking. I used to be somewhat claustrophobic. Now I become anxious while riding buses, flying in planes, taking elevators, standing in crowds, entering small classrooms, and attending events.

My anxiety ranges from fleeting thoughts such as “This is making me a little nervous” and “What if something bad happens?” to full-on panic attacks, during which I shake uncontrollably, feel that I cannot breathe, experience sweaty palms and a racing heart, and feel disconnected with reality. I understand that a panic attack won’t kill me, but the intense rush of adrenaline is exhausting and the fear can be paralyzing.

P1020625

I wish anxiety and fear did not impact my ability to be outdoors. But they have.

There are some things I can do to feel more “safe”: bring along someone I trust, choose an easy destination, venture somewhere familiar, et cetera. But often I engage in the easiest and laziest form of protection: avoidance.

Ironically, I believe with all my heart that nature has healing powers beyond what humans can even hope to understand. The trees, streams, and clouds have always calmed me and eased my mind. And yet, I am avoiding what I love so I feel safe. Where does this fear come from? What am I afraid of? I am addressing these issues in therapy, but I feel unhappy without snowy mountains and alpine lakes to create a backdrop for my summer. Many of my happiest memories have taken place in the wilderness.

P1030064

For now, I can continue to face and challenge my fears without inflicting too much stress on myself. I hope I will crave the outdoors for the rest of my life. I won’t let this stop me. The more time I spend in nature, the more comfortable I will become. Right?

This will get better. Right?

I Am a Rotten Fruit

So appealing at first glance
You’re admiring my supple pink skin
Too distracted by sweetness to notice
The quiet alcoholic tang of my fermentation
But halfway through
The wrongness becomes apparent
The bruised flesh and spotted decay
Tasting of clotted earth scorched in the sun
And the mash of soft apples underfoot
Spit me out and discard
Another boy will pick me up soon
Toss me from hand to hand
It’s tough to spot a rotten fruit