What My Anxiety Did To Us

People constantly slip in and out of our lives. Some gone without a trace, and some stick around in our memories well after they leave

By luck of the draw, I was one of the “cool” kids in high school, even though I was shy and quiet. I never had the courage to talk to girls who weren’t already my close friends. For some reason, chasing sex and binge drinking never appealed to me either; for me, a pouch of tobacco and a Coopers tallboy was a great night. Hell, I didn’t even need to be at a party; just have a book by Hunter or Kerouac to read.

Not that I didn’t enjoy parties; I just always stuck to the shadows, making sure whatever the occasion was I could slip in or out unnoticed. I vividly remember that moment when Andria appeared in my life.

It was five years ago on my 18th Birthday, about 2am sitting against a fence post smoking a cigarette watching the loving chaos unfold as my closest friends got drunk in my back yard by a roaring fire, the Autumn air crisp. A rare moment for me – one the involved truly enjoying my life and the wild party it encompassed in that very moment. She came and sat by me without a word, the best friend of one of my closest friends, the most beautiful girl. As corny as it is, her eyes had me enthralled, absolutely captured in the depth and beauty of them

We had met before at parties but never spoken, yet I always had wanted to talk to her. From the moment I first saw her I knew she was something special, she was someone I wanted to know. We didn’t speak. She silently kissed me. And she silently woke up in my bed the next morning

“Fuck, I’m sorry. That must have been horrible,” she laughed. “I was so drunk.”

A week from that I was kissing her in the back of a friend’s car after we all went out for dinner. A week later Andria was my girlfriend, and a week after that I was staying at her house, meeting her father and brother. From the beginning, I think we both knew we were doomed. Part of me was just in it for the ride, to hold on as long as I could; even if it near killed me. She was interesting, she was stimulating, and god was she beautiful

To this day, she is the most fascinating and intellectually stimulating person I have known. We could talk for hours; God I loved that; talking in the early hours until one of us fell asleep. She made me think, she asked me questions; she changed my views and opinions on so many things.

Fuck, I loved that! Fuck, I loved her!

Fighting soon became normal, constantly in battle; but I loved her and I loved to debate feeling secure in our love and insecure in myself feeling as though you were my safety net. ‘La Dispute’. God how she loved that band, and I never understood it. What was the appeal? It was just some guy essentially crying into a microphone.

I got older, she got older, and as we grew, life changed. It’s that simple, and there’s nothing you or I can do. We were both so introverted that most weekends we wouldn’t go outside, not that either of us cared. I found drugs and spirituality, and she approved of neither of these; I began to question things she no longer wanted to answer.

Thanks to mental illness, I have always walked a fine line in secret, that line between recreational user and drug addict. I have never had an addiction problem but the idea of feeling nothing, or having a vessel to numb the pain and fear has always been mighty appealing.

She was much smarter than me. She quickly realised we were doomed, while I still floated through in a haze of happiness. Finally, I had felt loved; I was happy and my fear was gone when I was with her. For a while, at least. Time moved on and I saw the other side; the side of materialistic fashion, pop stars and reality T.V. I loved her, but that wasn’t life for me; the people she admired angered me.

Yet I still loved her, and I still loved what we had; even if it had its cracks.

She looked at me with tear soaked eyes. “Either you seek help, or I go. I can’t do this anymore.” Her voice trailed off and she looked away. I couldn’t say anything; I had nothing to say. I always knew I was anxious, but I never thought it was that bad. I thought I was doing well. I was wrong. That was in Vienna, halfway through a Europe trip. When we got home we were done; that’s what she meant when she asked me to seek help, but knew it would kill me.

This has to finish. I have to end this. I knew I was getting worse. I knew I could no longer seem fine; the cracks were opening up and I had no way of controlling it. She turned to me on the couch and looked right into my eyes. “Come for a walk”

That’s all she said leading me out. Sitting on a bench she turned to me again, not looking at my face this time. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.” The breath stuck in my throat, I stuttered, I cried. I cried like I hadn’t since I was a child, uncontrollable shudders from the core, sitting in a public park, a broken mess. A few hours ago I had wanted this; now I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want change

I was broken again, in my mind a heap of flesh and bones so shattered no one would want it. I tried to fix it, it tried to put the pieces back together. The damage was done, now it was time to accept it and sweep the mess under the carpet and move on.

She was much stronger than I was. She had the strength to know what she needed and to do it. I respect her for that, for her strength, for her caring nature, for her intelligence. Still, I respect her deeply.

I drove home that night, my family was out. I drank rum and I chain smoked cigarettes and I listened to ‘La Dispute’

I understood it now

Since then my anxiety got worse, I eventually sought out help. But not until after it destroyed and damaged many of my closest relationships. I’m not sure if I was too proud, or too scared; Regardless, it took completely falling apart for me to seek the help I needed to put me back together. It’s something I will always live with and battle. But it is something that can be helped. It can be worked with, worked on. Life can be better. There can be some sense of ‘normality’.

Categories: Stories
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