Ghost Legs

“Ghostly figure in the barn” by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

For over a week, every morning, I’ve struggled to walk to the bus stop.

It’s odd. It’s been a long time I last suffered from ghost legs and I have not been enjoying the resurfacing of this symptom of my anxiety.

Ghost legs is a term I coined for myself over a decade ago as the best way to explain how my legs felt sometimes when I was anxious. Back then, when things were really bad (I mean suicidal, self harming bad), my body didn’t really feel like it was working properly.

The best way I could describe all the problems I was having was to imagine them as something a little more fantastical than just my body falling to bits the same way my brain way.

My brain, by the way, was green. Rotting, mouldy, unripe, however you want to look at it. It was green and not well put together. Many of the circuits were crossed. I also had goldfish brain, I could sit and stare, my mind going round in circles for hours without really doing anything.

I still can.

I had trolls living in my knees. Ones with big hammers that smashed up my kneecaps.

I had gnomes living in my chest. They were responsible for pulling the large chains around my lungs tighter and tighter whenever I had a panic attack.

My arms weren’t attached properly, everything was fuzzy and of course, I had ghost legs.


My legs were definitely there, you could see them but they didn’t feel like they were attached to my body. While my arms just hung there, my legs weren’t even part of me any more. We still moved as one, avoiding lines and cracks in the roads, walking too slowly, veering to the left. But we weren’t really part of the same being. You could see them but I always imagined that if I touched them during one of these times my hand would go right through them.

I was never brave enough to prove myself wrong (or right).

I thought it was just me. Only I suffered from the ghost legs until I met a woman at work who also had the same feeling of disconnection with her legs. We’re on the same medication and she said it was a side effect of the Paroxetine (not listed of course).

She may be right.

I’m currently trying to get off the Paroxetine. It was fine until I hit the last ten milligrams. Now my anxiety is hitting highs unseen since before I met my wife and although there’s a lot going on, I can certainly see the connection.

Whatever the reason for the return of the ghost legs, I’m currently waking up panicking every day. Taking a Propranolol (a beta-blocker) every day. I’m suffering from those ghost legs every day right now.

I said recently that I was better but not complacent. This is why. Because between then and now (just a week) I already feel worse and the anxiety is turning to depression and the ghost legs are turning into a limp.

But I keep waking up, and getting up and walking to the bus stop. Life will even out again and so will I.


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