I remember that anxious feeling creeping up slowly, like hot lead through my veins. I felt dizzy and I wanted to get away, run away quickly. Danger all around, but the house was empty, a quiet, just the ticking of the clock and the hum of the fridge. ‘It’ had returned, as I peered into the mirror, confused at the reflection staring back at me.
I remember the day it felt like I would never be happy again; checking my pulse, feeling weak, convinced I was sick, or dying or worse- already dead. Every flicker of my eyelid, every pain in my chest, each muscle spasm or headache was a trigger and ‘It’ would boil up inside me again.
I remember settling ‘It’ down for while, feeling comfort, and feeling relaxed, feeling positive, sometimes even high, and seeing my own strength. I can beat ‘It’ I thought, I believed. Then ‘It’ would creep back again, like a sneaky lion waiting to pounce, and I was always waiting with no weapon to protect me, feeling helpless.
I remember the night the flames engulfed my room, the smoke surrounding us as we screamed. I don’t remember much in between, it was a blur much like my belongings all mangled, and sodden, burned out on the floor. I remember the smell, how it haunts me, but not worse than ‘It’, lurking around every corner, every movement, every thought.
I remember pretending I was alright after the fire engines had left, and the days, months had passed, soldiering on. I don’t remember when things changed but they did. The anger, frustration, unhappiness slowly infected my days and my day dreams. I remember the first day I met ‘It’, clawing at my insides, screaming at me to get out of the car, to run, to get help.
I remember the internet searches and the doctors’ visits, the heart tests. Wires and machines clicking and whirring, listening to every heartbeat, but it was all in vain. Perfect health. But ‘It’ was still there.
I remember the day I raised my white flag- Brand new, never been used, straight out of the wrapper, admitting defeat flag. That was the day I introduced myself and shook ‘It’s’ hand firmly, “Nice to meet you, I see you’ve made yourself comfortable.”
I remember the realisations, the relief, the books, the words in hour long conversations. In replace of anger, confusion and detachment, my patience and reasoning squeezed through, sometimes ‘It’ would force my new found positivity back and snigger in my happiness’ face.
But slowly, I remember, feeling good again, not great, not just alright, but good. And good’s fine with me for now, because I remember how hard ‘It’ worked to drain out any bit of goodness.
Now I just have to remember that not everyday is going to be a good day, it might not be quite as good as yesterday, but I know how to compromise with ‘It’ now, the anxiety, the panic disorder, the post traumatic stress- ‘It’ likes to go by its’ full name sometimes. I just remember I’m bigger than ‘it’.