I attempted some creative pieces when I was in college. Until today, it’s probably been every bit of a year since I actually put my heart into it. I’m not saying this is great, but it’s not terrible. I have been meditating a lot recently about what anxiety means to me, and how I want to learn more about how I can help myself and others that suffer from issues related to anxiety. Here’s a start at what may become a larger story.
Gavin was scared but under control. It was the day after his 23rd birthday. He stood facing the wall, grasping his water bottle in his left hand and crinkled napkins in his right hand. Having just entered his apartment complex lobby, he stopped. Walking past the mailboxes he felt himself locking up. It wasn’t a new feeling. He felt like he’d just run a five-mile race. His heart beat faster than normal and he felt moisture on his brow. The fear he was feeling wasn’t new, but it wasn’t welcome.
Ten-or-so minutes ago, everything was fine. He was preparing to leave work and ride his bicycle the four blocks from the coffeehouse back to his home. The day at work had been normal with nothing stressing him out. His manager praised his accuracy and customer service techniques. Customers were pleasant, thankful, and full of good conversation. His coworkers, more so friends than anything else, were upbeat and happy to be around him.
Anxiety had peppered Gavin’s life since he was 19. The first time he experienced a panic attack was enough to make him know life would not – could not – be the same from that point forward. The twitching, the inability to focus forward and keep his hands on the steering wheel, and the fact that he couldn’t understand how he could stay on the road were all coming to a head with this fear and uneasiness that overcame him. Somehow, he focused out and made it home. He immediately got inside, climbed under the covers of his bed, and cried himself to sleep. At that point, he had no clue what had happened, but it felt like it was all his fault.
He stood in the lobby breathing in and out repeatedly for a few minutes, eventually sinking down to the floor, spinning around and sitting with his head against his knees, legs bent up. The sweat from his forehead soaked into his denim jeans as he tried to regain composure. At this point, he was realizing his bicycle still sat on the sidewalk outside the lobby doors. He was so shaken upon arriving home that he abandoned it upon arrival.
Gavin stood up and shed his coat and laid it on the counter by the door. He opened the door and re-entered the cold of the night walking the few feet distance to his bicycle. He picked it up and walked it back into the lobby with him. Fetching his coat again, he walked the bicycle back to the mailboxes. He fetched his keys from his pocket and unlocked box 304-D, his box for the past nine months. As usual, inside was nothing more than an advertisement for a home-cleaning service, as well as his rent notice for the month.
Feeling somewhat normal again, but not impressed by the typical mailbox contents, he folded both items up and placed them under his arm with his jacket and continued to roll the bicycle down the hall toward the elevator. It was approaching seven-o’clock, and through the window at the end of the hall Gavin saw the lights of the city illuminating against the night sky. He pressed the button to call the elevator and a simple bell toned as the door opened. He entered with his possessions and pressed the button for the third level. He looked down and felt the lift of the elevator as the door closed. The suffering subsided for now.
To be continued…?