You send jitters down my spine when I climb to scary heights
You make me run, run, run…
Forward, don’t look back, never rest!
You remind me I have a heart that can beat out of my chest
You come to me in the night with memories and visions, a punch to the gut
And then you push me out of the gates with incredible speed.
Fight or flight! Freeze or death! You keep me going, my weird friend, my racing breath, forward, don’t look back, never stay, never rest…
In this short poem I was trying to touch on some of the contradictory aspects our experience of anxiety can contain. While it originates in our basic survival mechanism of “fight, flight or freeze,” our emotional makeup as humans that comes with the knowledge of our own mortality, a keen memory and a sense of imagination of the future can transform it into a force that works against us. I sometimes describe this aspect of anxiety as an “emotional and mental autoimmune condition.” Like our immune system, anxiety is there to let us survive but it can turn into an enemy. When we experience the detrimental effects of overbearing anxiety, we tend to lose touch with not only its truly protective aspects but also with its potential as a driving force. I will certainly write more about this in future posts but would love to hear more from you about your thoughts and reflections on anxiety.