What Does It Feel Like to Live With Anxiety?

Rachel Hardy
Oct 10 · 3 min read

I have a room inside my mind.

I try to keep the door locked.

But the little monster that lives within it keeps jiggling the lock open. He rips the door from the frame if he has to. He will do whatever he can to be heard, to be seen, to be in control.

Once he’s out, the darkness seeps out with him, infecting every corner and crevice in my mind.

He reeks havoc there.

Destroying my peace of mind. Burning my joy to ashes. Paralyzing me with fear.

The panic sets in. I can feel my heart racing, my skin prickling. A heavy weight rests on my chest. It’s hard to breath now.

I beg my little monster to stop, but he only screams louder. He pounds his little fists against the hard bone of my skull. He destroys everything in his path until there is nothing and no one left but him.

I try to gulp down air. The edges of my vision go black. Around me, the room seems to spin.

I feel dizzy, off balance.

The sounds of the room around me go dim.

My head begins to pound.

My little monster continues his cries.

He screams out his name, as if I could ever forget it.

He calls himself, “Anxiety.”


I have been battling my monster for as long as I can remember. He has been waging his war for dominance for a decade or more.

Sometimes I am strong enough to pick him up and fling him back within the dark room. I’m strong enough to lock and bolt the door. He tries to break free, pounding desperately on the wood.

The sound eventually becomes nothing but a dull ache.

Anxiety does not like to live within that room alone. It is dark and dank. There is nothing to feed on there. He is lonely and Anxiety wants to share his pain with me. He needs to feed on my own joy to survive.

I try to starve him. I try to make him weak. I try to win my daily battle with him.

But when I am not strong, Anxiety escapes. He takes control. He wins the battle. And I succumb to panic.


I live with Anxiety everyday.

He is as much a part of me as I am a part of him.

I wish that he would leave. I wish that he would find a new room to live in, a new mind to poison.

I wish that I was free of him or that we could learn to coexist together, peacefully.

Until then I will close the door and lock it tight. I leave Anxiety behind.

I hear him pounding on the door.

But I throw away the key.

And I wait.

For another day, another time, when he is strong enough to break free.

Rachel Hardy

Written by

Former psychology major hoping to change the world and inspire others. Writes about relationships, wellness, dogs, and surviving life as a woman.

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