What is it?

Anxiety is a fine mist, or a freight train.

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This is what anxiety is:

  1. Anxiety is a ghost who bites your nails while you read a book on caving at four in the morning because you can’t sleep.
  2. Anxiety is a small man who wants to have tea with you while you work, and you tell him not now and please come again later, and he says okay!, and then he comes back in twelve seconds and says, now?
  3. Anxiety is a schoolkid who rings your doorbell at precise, seven-second intervals so that you can never quite settle into your writing chair and your dog keeps barking and your heart is on alert.
  4. Anxiety is a fine mist that seeps into your pores and waits until you finally feel good-at least a six on a scale of ten-and then explodes underneath your skin. You feel itchy and restless.
  5. Anxiety is a map where the X is constantly moving.
  6. Anxiety is a parasite.
  7. Anxiety is an old woman who will be your companion and your teacher if you will just let her in.
  8. Anxiety is a bowlful of oatmeal and brown sugar that makes you want to vomit because you cannot stomach the idea of eating anything because you are convinced of your imminent failure.
  9. Anxiety is the conviction that failure is always imminent.
  10. Anxiety is a freight train, and you don’t know whether you are on it, about to be run over by it, or watching it pass you by.
  11. Anxiety is a trapped mind, rattling in its too-big skull, feral and fearful and sane.
  12. Anxiety is one thousand small obstacles, two feet off the ground, that you know you cannot climb over to get to what you want.
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