Conversations With Anxiety is a series which aims to convey what it’s like to live with anxiety. These dialogues are snapshots of the debates I have or have had with anxiety: the things we fight over, the discussions we take part in and the struggle to reason with irrationality.
Me: Let’s go for a run!
Me: It will be good for us.
Anxiety: Us? No no no, you know I hate physical activity – especially physical activity which other people can observe!
Me: Fine, you won’t like it but it will be good for me.
Anxiety: You’re trying to get rid of me aren’t you. You’re doing all of this to push me out.
Me: Come on, don’t take it like that. I’m just trying to help myself relax a little – and get a bit healthier too!
Anxiety: It’s kind of pathetic that you’re literally running away from your problems…
Me: I’m not!
Anxiety: …aren’t you?
Me: You’re just saying that to stop us going.
Anxiety: No I’m not!
Me: Okay well if there isn’t a problem let’s go then!
Me: Right, we’re off!
Anxiety: Oh no, it hurts already, I don’t think this is a good idea.
Me: We’ve gone ten steps, just try to get into it a bit.
Anxiety: Noooo, we’re running too fast, we won’t be able to keep it up and then we’ll have to stop and everyone will see we could only run for ONE minute. That’s SO BAD.
Me: No one is taking any notice of us, let’s just do our best.
Anxiety: They are, they all are. Look, he’s staring – guy on the bench drinking beer.
Me: …he’s got huge sunglasses on, you can’t even see where he’s looking.
Anxiety: Exactly! That’s how I know he’s looking.
Me: Oh well, we’re past him now.
Anxiety: He’s not the only one, just an example.
Me: It doesn’t matter, people are absorbed in their own lives, don’t stress about it.
Anxiety: Don’t stress about it?! How am I supposed to focus on putting one foot in front of the other with an AUDIENCE.
Me: For the last time, we don’t. have. an. audience.
Anxiety: Hey we’re going too slowly now, pick up the pace! We could literally walk faster than this, it looks ridiculous.
Me: Okay, but don’t moan at me when we start getting out of breath again.
Anxiety: Ugh, whatever. I’m not that pathetic.
Anxiety: Argh, we’re so far from home, how are we gonna get back?!
Me: The same way we got here…
Anxiety: Nope nope nope, too tired, we can’t make it up the hill.
Me: Let’s just take it slow.
Anxiety: I think we’re having a heart attack. It’s going so fast.
Me: Don’t be silly, we’re running, of course our heart rate is going to be high!
Anxiety: No, this isn’t normal. Oh god, make it stop make it STOP.
Me: Shouting isn’t going to lower our heart rate, chill out!
Anxiety: I CAN’T. WHY AREN’T YOU FREAKING OUT?!
Me: Okay okay, look we’re going to walk now. Happy?
Anxiety: -can’t–breathe…oh my…god– we’re gonna…vomit– oh no oh no oh no
Me: Stop and focus. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth.
Anxiety: Breathing is so inefficient! There’s… not… enough… air.
Anxiety: Ufff– uff– uff–
Me: Look we’re home!
Anxiety: Oh god– finally! It’s been waaaaay too long.
Me: We were out for literally seven minutes.
Anxiety: Yeah, seven minutes too long.
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