Like a loud room

By Pablo Grajeda

I’ve been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and this is how I describe my anxiety.

Everything starts with me in a completely dark room. There’s nothing but silence. Then people I love or I used to love begin to appear around me with warm and friendly smiles.

Everything seems fine, I feel fine, I feel peaceful. But suddenly those sweet smiles open in some kind of evil symphony. Those kind smiles become barbed wires and the friendly eyes become malicious sight. Those people I love become shadows with menacing daggers in their hands.

But I’m still fine, I’m a little scared but I can deal with it…

But suddenly all the shadows raise the dagger while screaming, and every voice is like a thunder getting through my ears into my head, and the room becomes so small I can barely move. I understand every word they say: The voice of a friend says: “You are worthless.” Someone I hurt says: “It shouldn’t have had to be that way, it’s your fault.” The voice of my mom says: “You are not good enough.” The voice of my dad says: “You are worthless”…

I try to ignore them… I cover my ears and it just becomes so loud it burns.

I ask them to stop, I beg them to stop, I scream, I cry… but nobody stops. I try to look at them to see who is reproaching me, who is blaming me, but every time I turn, I see a shadow going away, and I feel a cold edge on my spine.

I’m overwhelmed, I’m desperate, I’m in danger, I have to stop them, I’m scared, I have to do something… The room is too loud, too small.

A dagger appears in my hand, I hold it tightly, I feel someone on my back, and in front of me a shadow raises a dagger as well. I have to stop this. I don’t want to feel pain, so I stab someone on my back…

Sounds like a crystal shattering, but it felt like flesh. What does it mean? I turn around, it’s a friend all tied up… with a dagger in the chest. She’s bleeding, crying… she smiles at me and says “I love you. I’m sorry I couldn’t help”… I’m shocked… I say sorry a thousand times, as if that could fix the wound.

All the other shadows shut, and disappear, but my friend doesn’t. I’m alone now… I don’t deserve forgiveness… I don’t deserve to be happy again… I don’t deserve friendship… I’m worthless… I deserve to feel miserable… I deserve pain… I deserve suffering… Why am I still alive? It should end right now.

But then… I wake up. A friend places her hand on my shoulder, my eyes are wet. I’m still in my classroom, I still feel guilty. My friend asks me: “Again in the Loud Room?” I say yes with my head, almost crying, so she replies: “I still love you, I know you didn’t meant to hurt me yesterday with what you said. So don’t worry”… so I cry.

It’s a little metaphorical, but that’s how my anxiety attacks feels like. Like a Loud Room where I get scared and I can hurt even the person I love the most for something that is not really happening. But at the end of the day, reaching out for help is the best way to break free.

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