Anxiety as an Inability to Voice What is Within


A man is programmed to hold his suffering within. And when this becomes too great to bear, his body turns on him, his throat constricts, his arteries strangle his own blood flow, his mind takes control of his lungs and subverts the most basic and essential of functions–breathing. How can this lonely, inexplicable impotence in the face of oneself be shared, voiced, exorcised?

The rush of adrenaline that comes in the face of danger, the so-called fight-or-flight response, is a residue of our evolutionary past, the reptilean brain survival mechanism. When the adrenaline fires without any visible signs of danger, without any immediate reason, how can this be explicated to anyone else? The fight and the flight is activated by oneself, against oneself, almost like an act of spite, an act of contrition, as if you are making yourself suffer for things that you are unable to define. It is not in the vernacular of our society to voice such things. How can one say, I am hurting, I am bleeding, watching people I care about destroying themselves, watching my nation destroy its future? How can one say, I cannot ignore this death around me, I cannot ignore all of the hidden suffering of everyone around me, I cannot pretend to be OK, I cannot pretend that everything is as it appears? How can one say, I am an open wound, I am not healing, I am scared that everyone else is also suffering alone, and there is nothing I can do, and nothing I can say to reach them?

So it is held within, to the point of bursting. It pushes away everyone you love. It expands a gigantic void within yourself, and you stumble through the day like a hollow husk, not knowing what is wrong, fearing the coming of the night, where you will toss and turn despite utter exhaustion, where you will feel like a track runner right before the gun goes off, where you will gasp like a fish at air seemingly devoid of oxygen, no matter how much you take into your lungs.

And how sweet, and how bitter, is the release when the tears suddenly well up in your eyes and your heart springs open to this hidden, inarticulate world of suffering that we smooth over so well everyday. This world of death, and pain, and suicide, and addiction. These are things we do not discuss. These are the things we fear.

Everytime someone you know passes from life, you sense the rupture in the barrier that you had put up between yourself and them. You feel guilty, as if you were involved in their death. Because you pretended that death did not exist, that they could never die, that you could never die. And now what is there to say, when you know how everyone is suffering, alone, hiding it, smiling, working through the day? How can you possibly reach one another across this void that keeps you apart even from yourself? How can you say anything to heal this, when you know that there is no healing of this wound?

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

3 thoughts on “Anxiety as an Inability to Voice What is Within”

  1. Hi, you are a very good writer and I am really enjoying reading your entries on various topics. I can relate and understand a lot of what you are saying and its amazing how good you are at phrasing so many things that I usually just feel as pure emotion. Bravo.

  2. That is all so true. Your suffering has been a catalyst for some sincere and heart felt expression. You have help me today. I was in a bad place. Thank You

    I came across your blog by accident(or was it) We see I to eye on many a things.

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