by Nicolás Cortez
Painting by Dan Lacey
I’ve always had anxiety.
To me it’s this chill that never goes away. It’s the silent tapping of my leg that seems to never stop. I never noticed how much I tapped my leg until the day my mom started to smack it whenever she found it “annoying”. I always saw it as something normal. It was almost comforting and whenever I would have these sinking feelings of unconscious fear, it helped me through it. My foot tapping has just always been a signal to my close friends that something is wrong but it’s also just been something normal, something that’s a part of me.
My anxiety isn’t a feeling I simply get when I’m about to take a test or order something at a restaurant. It feels like someone is constantly staring at me and judging. It’s similar to a fight or flight mode, but just all the time. Many would say I’m jumpy and energetic but it’s only because I’m constantly on edge. However, sometimes I do crash. These sometimes are emotional crashes, where I feel extremely numb and indifferent. But also physical crashes, where I don’t want to move my body but only want to tap my foot till I fall asleep (which I have done). I wake up some days in pain from tapping my leg so much the day before and I have to retrain myself to use the other leg if one becomes too tired.
I have yet to address a lot of it but by me recognizing that I do tap my foot and seeing what causes me to go into my anxiety attacks helps.
But one day, my legs will be strong enough to let me stand on both. To let me run and run as far as they can take me. Because my legs, they are a part of me. The tapping, the pain, the shaking. It’s all a part of me. But for now, I will not run. I will take my own baby steps and learn more about myself.
And that is okay.