The Roar Only I Can Hear 

Image courtesy of 
Efes Kitap

Pay attention to your body and what it tells you.

But that isn’t always easy, especially at times when your body is rebelling. When it’s doing things that don’t feel good. That you feel you have no control over.

I’m in a dark room right now. Everything hurts. I want to sit at my computer to type this out, but I can’t physically bring myself to do so and emotionally . . . the small screen of my phone feels safer somehow. 

I want to pay attention though. I want to fight this. Anxiety is wearing me down. I can’t manage it anymore. Control of it slips further and further away, like a feral animal through a gate in the night.

So this is what my anxiety feels like. This is me paying attention and putting it to words. This is my experience. It may not be someone else’s. But keep it in mind the next time someone says they have anxiety and you think they look fine.

I start pretty okay. I had a meeting to attend this evening and I expected it to be pretty low key. I felt a low level of nervousness, just in regards to getting the kids where they all needed to be, making sure everyone would have dinner, and then getting myself out the door in time.

At the meeting, shit went sideways. Nothing awful. The outcome of the meeting was not affected at all. But dismissive language was used. 

My eyes welled up. My breathing felt tight.

All because I knew I was going to speak. There was no way I would sit there and not speak up.

I used a break in the meeting to step outside. I sat in my car in silence. And I wrote out a two minute speech. 

The meeting resumed and I gave my speech. 

By the time I got back to my seat, I felt lightheaded. As soon as the meeting was over, I left. Quietly, but immediately. Halfway to my car I felt tears on my cheeks.

I wasn’t upset.

The speech went really well and I was proud of what I’d said.

Tears are just how all of the pent up anxiety finally starts to release. Everything I didn’t allow anyone else to see. Like a pressure cooker finally releasing some of its steam.

There isn’t anywhere else for it to go. It finds its way into two tear drops that drag themselves from my soul, their hind legs paralyzed, in a bid for relief.

By the time I get home, just ten minutes later, my head is aching. My shoulders are in pain.

By the time I get in bed, two hours later, I have a full blown migraine. The back of my neck is sore from the pain radiating out of shoulders. My lower back feels like I’ve spent the day moving into a new home.

And I’m silent. 

I don’t make it known. I may mention I have a migraine as I pop ibuprofen. Other than that, I try not to make a big deal of it. As if ignoring it might make it go away.

Tomorrow I’ll be exhausted. Physically wrung out from the emotional turmoil.

Which always perplexes me. I spend the day in awe of my body and its reaction. 

How can I experience so much physical fallout from something nobody else can see?

A roar only I can hear.

3 thoughts on “The Roar Only I Can Hear ”

  1. I know this experience so very well. Because I grew up in an environment of constant trauma (my sole parent for 17 years was a paranoid schizophrenic mother) I’ve experienced severe anxiety all my life. I don’t think you can begin to describe it to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. None of the many meds they’ve tried, and there have been many, have worked at all. Serotonin based drugs make it so much worse. I had a very traumatic experience a year ago yesterday that involved assault and then abandonment by someone I loved very much. I was so frightened I had lost the flight or fight response. I was catatonic and in a hotel room I couldn’t leave for 13 days. I’ve been seeing a psychologist who specialises in Trauma Recovery since October. The anxiety hasn’t gone away at all but apparently it gets worse before it gets better. The panic attacks are still there but they’re not as frequent and I seem stronger. I’ve lost a lot of weight, three dress sizes. However, leaving the house without my husband is still terrifying. I have a very compassionate husband which helps so much but he is often working out of town for days and days. Some days, like yesterday, I never leave my bed because the panic never passes. I can’t read or write either because all my cognitive abilities just slip away. When I was a little girl I used to hide in the closet or under the bed. I live in the U.K. now. Storage is an issue over here. Sometimes there are no closets. I have a very tiny one that I would never fit into. No under the bed place. They’re are drawers down there. So I burrow under my duvet waiting for the panic to pass or mellow just the tiniest bit. Music used to help but since last year’s trauma sound and light are intolerable. Breathing and meditation helps but I can’t focus if the panic is in full swing. They don’t prescribe benzodiazepines over here, so no Xanax and I can’t take SSRIs. So I just lie in the dark hoping it will pass. It’s the most terrible part about my current existence. Thank you for writing this. It helps so much to know you’re not alone in the universe. Try to take care of yourself. You are in my thoughts. Many blessings to you. R~


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