Two Poems To Read If You Have Anxiety

Two Poems To Read If You Have Anxiety

These two poems helped me come to terms with my anxiety.
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When I had my first anxiety attack in high school, there was no mistaking what it was. The combination of feelings almost like emotional and physical claustrophobia all at the same time was so uniquely terrible that I knew instantly I was having an anxiety attack. That first attack was quite some time ago, and my anxiety disorder has only become worse and harder to manage now that I am trying to juggle college courses, work, volunteering, relationships, and staying healthy. One of the worst things about anxiety, for me, is feeling disconnected from the rest of the world, feeling like I am the only one who understands what it is I am experiencing. In actuality, over 40 million adults in the United States, and millions more teens and even children, experience anxiety issues.

To help myself feel less alone and be stronger in my will to fight the anxiety I experience every day, I found poetry and short stories written by other people who experience the same thing. Anonymous Poetry on Tumblr is one of my favorite places to find this, but there are hundreds of other sites out there as well, including Hello Poetry, All Poetry, and AADA. These websites are full of first-hand accounts of how other people have struggled and yet prevailed through their anxiety. These two poems, both found on Anonymous Poetry on Tumblr with no author credited, were the most impactful to me personally about my own experience with anxiety.

“Then Anxiety Is” by Anonymous

If love is a mothers gentle, warm embrace--

Then anxiety is being forced into a strait jacket.

If hope is a butterfly flitting from flower to flower--

Then anxiety is a nuclear bomb plummeting to earth.

If compassion is an outstretched, helping hand--

Then anxiety is a gun to the back of the head.

If peace is the rise and fall of a sleeping infant’s chest--

Then anxiety is lightning striking an airplane.

If freedom is a bird soaring high in the sky--

Then anxiety is a shackled slave thrown into the sea.

If happiness is the laughter of a friend--

Then anxiety is the howling of a dying dog.

If tolerance is children playing, blind to skin color--

Then anxiety is being prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.

If nature is the skyline from a mountaintop--

Then anxiety is the metal slab corpses rest on.

If togetherness is the soft kiss of a lover--

Then anxiety is the last living thing on the planet.

If possibility is a child gazing up at the stars,

Then anxiety is a dead rat in the sewers

If future is a woman holding her swollen, pregnant belly

Then anxiety is being nailed into a coffin

If life is the things that people do every day,

Then anxiety is living as a ghost, watching but not experiencing

“Mind, Body, and Anxiety” by Anonymous

I know that the sun shines above me

But the warmth fades before reaching my face

I know that the breeze swirls around me

But the air withers before entering my lungs

My mind is telling me not to lose hope

That there will be an end to the fear

That the anxiety will fade into the past

And that nothing has been changed

My body is telling me that there is no hope

My hands shake, there will be no end to the fear

My eyes blur, the anxiety will never fade into the past

My heart pounds, nothing has been changed

I know that music floats towards me

But the harmony dies before reaching my ears

I know that love flows through me

But the kindness chills before reaching my heart

My mind is telling me not to be anxious

That the anxiety does not have to control me

That there is no reason to be so overwhelming

And that I am loved and supported

My body is telling me I will always be anxious

That the anxiety will always be in control of me

That everything will always be overwhelming

And that I am only loved and supported by myself

Anxiety flows through my mind and body

Never resting, never stopping

Stress holds tightly to my emotions and my thoughts

Never relaxing, never fading

My mind is telling me to confront my anxiety

That I should not make decisions based on fear

That my feelings do not have to be ruled by “what if’s”

And that the anxiety does not define me

My body is telling me to accept my anxiety

That my decisions will always be based on fear

That the “what if’s” protect my feelings

And that my anxiety and I are one and the same

Anxiety resides in my heart and soul

Always present, always painful

Stress remains in my present and future

Always impacting, always effecting

My mind tells me that I can defy my anxiety disorder

That it does not have to impact who I love

That it does not have to tell me what to do

And that it does not have to change who I am

My body tells me that I am my anxiety disorder

That it will always impact who I love

That it will always tell me what to do

That my anxiety disorder is who I am

And that we will forever be one and the same


These poems have really captured how my anxiety feels, and I hope these authors will somehow know how helpful they've really been.

Cover Image Credit: Odyssey

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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10 Thoughts From The Girl Who Hates Going To The Gym But Muscles Through It For The Gains

You hate it but it's healthy, so...

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I hate the gym. There are too many people. I would rather have my own private gym. But sometimes, I just need to go and workout. Here are the thoughts that run through my mind.

1. What should I do first?

Stretch? Run? Lift? Help?

2. I hope I don't see anyone I know here.

Last thing I need is for someone seeing me trying to workout.

3. How do I use this machine?

I'll just go to the next one.

4. How many reps have I done?

I always lose track.

5. What do I do next?

Probably should have made a plan.

6. How much time has passed?

So I can leave as soon as I can.

7. I need to pick a machine away from everyone

So no one can see me struggling.

8. Am I doing this right?

Or do I just look stupid doing my workout

9. How come everyone who comes here scares me?

Everyone is just super serious...

10. Why is there nothing good at the TVs?

CNN? Nah.

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