It starts with a change in mood. Something unpredictable, unexplainable, from somewhere out of the blue. The first attempt is to brush it off like its nothing; if I ignore it, the feeling will go away. Instead, it slowly creeps deeper into my body. The minor change in mood turns into a tight feeling in my chest. Before I know it, it is hard to breathe, my eyes are filling with tears, the growling of my stomach turns to a feeling of nausea, and my thoughts are running in every possible direction. I am shutting down.
Nothing makes sense. A few minutes ago I was fine, fully functioning, going about my day. Now, I am shaking, unable to focus on anything. I know I need to study, to send in my weekly reports, to hit the gym, but for some reason, staring at this blank wall in front of me and scrolling aimlessly on my phone seems more entertaining. I need time to pause for a few minutes so I can get everything back on track, but instead it seems to speed up.
Then I feel trapped. Sitting down becomes impossible, pacing seems like a better option, the fresh air is really what I need. Even with the wind blowing through my hair, the fresh air filling my lungs, and no longer having a barrier of four walls surrounding me, I still feel trapped. The openness of my surroundings does not replace the claustrophobic sense stress provides. When breathing should become easier, it does the opposite.
My mind is racing in the way I wish my legs would to run away from it all. For some reason the to-do list in my mind seems to grow while the physical one in front of me doesn't match. I am confused. Why did I choose to get so involved? Will all this hard work pay off? Does each additional involvement actually improve my resume? Everyone says it will. Getting over involved definitely isn't ideal, but in the back of my mind I know it is worth it. Just this last semester, one less Monday to suffer through, one more dreaded finals week.
Then, just when I think I can't handle it anymore, I hear your voice and feel your arms around me which washes the anxiety away. Those simple words of encouragement coming from you sounds much better than from anyone else. Just like the way my body fits against yours as we lay to watch endless episodes of some comedy to distract my mind or how you know just what to say to make me grin. Maybe it is the way you can sense when I'm stressed so you pull me in tighter for a hug.
And when you're not here, it is still as if you can sense I'm off my game. It's the way you check in to make sure I'm alright, knowing exactly what to say to calm me down, and never being more than a phone call away. It's the little things too, like how you don't realize just seeing your name pop up on my phone puts the smile on my face to get me through my day or how simply knowing I have your support is enough to relieve large amounts of stress. Sometimes that's all it takes to know everything will be okay.