When Anxiety Comes

When anxiety comes, as it so often does,
And my brain is surrounded with thorns and with fuzz
So my thinking is shaky, and riddled with doubts
(Not sharp as a tack, as it recently was)
When anxiety comes, and predictable bouts
Of insomnia give me a case of the dumbs,
It’s a day like today… when anxiety comes.

When anxiety comes, whether stealthy or bold,
And I instantly feel like I’m seven years old
Being bullied by bigger boys, all for their sport
(Which they never will stop, I’m reliably told)
When anxiety comes, and I hear I’m the sort
That should love to engage in such violent scrums,
It’s a day like today… when anxiety comes.

When anxiety comes, and I’m lacking in sleep,
And the smallest of hills is a mountain so steep,
That a simple request is a terrible task
(Go ahead—ask me anything—maybe I’ll weep!)
When my normal routine is just too much to ask
And my pulse, in my eardrums, impatiently drums
It’s a day like today… when anxiety comes.

When anxiety comes, and I’m risking it all
When one slip, one missed step, and my whole world could fall
If I last till tomorrow, I might find a way
(Cos they say there’s a door, but I just see a wall)
But by damn, it’s not easy to last through today
And at night I can’t sleep when my brain loudly hums…
I would love to get past when anxiety comes.

If you haven’t seen this helpful essay on anxiety, go read it.

Today sucked. But it’s over. I got maybe 2 hours sleep last night max. Then had to change all of today’s classes because of the potential for weather cancellations. Fine, but that means last day of classes stuff, carefully planned, gets thrown into a blender.

Plus, there was [redacted], which is making me thoroughly anxious in and of itself. It’s out of my hands now, officially. But today was part of it, and when I wear my anxiety glasses, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I just screwed up the rest of my life, that I’ll be let go from my job, my family will disown me, and I’ll end up living in a cardboard box somewhere.

Anxiety glasses are powerful things.

When I take them off, I know I have friends and family who love me, a workplace that respects me and values what I do. But sometimes you wake up (or never really get to sleep) and find out that some sort of demons have superglued the damned glasses to your face.

I’m over the hump now. I hope. The trigger situations, at least, are out of my hands now. Unless they are not. (Goddamn glasses!) But today was not fun, even if I find out later that everything went great.


Bonus obsessiveness for poetry geeks. The rhyme scheme was designed to be anxious. It is not an easy abab or aabb, and just when you think you know where it is going to go, it goes somewhere else (the parenthetical phrases were the cherry on top). And yet it is repeated faithfully in the all stanzas.

I remember, back when I was trying to read poetry in Greek, reading a strongly-recommended version of Prometheus Bound. At one point, one of the characters (sorry, can’t be bothered to go look now) is losing grip on the situation… and the verse goes into hexameter-trimeter, hexameter-trimeter, hexameter-trimeter. You can’t recite it without sounding like you are half out of breath, half out of your helmet. It’s wonderful.


  1. says

    Hmm, maybe you should be anxious more often,
    And not let your edge from complaisancy soften,
    Cos clearly your brilliance in verse-making glistens
    And no one would dare be caught captiously scoffin’
    When anguish and dread dole out glorious dissonance!

  2. Johnny Vector says

    Yes! I love that kind of tension. My brain is reminded of what Jason Neal does in the Carbon Leaf song Pink, where it sounds like he’s playing a fairly standard rock drum part, until you try to drum along with him on your thigh while singing the words. That’s when you realize the song has the tension it deserves. At least it is if you’re me. Or, Ice and Snow, which is in 3/4, and he puts the beat on every other 3. It feels like trying to walk on an icy sidewalk. Beautiful, in exactly the same was as the above.

    So, sorry for your anxiety, but thank you for turning it into something awesome for the rest of us.

    And best wishes for a speedy whew!

  3. Cuttlefish says

    I think that is why I like 5/4 time so much. Back in college, we used to have “face dances, part two” on our dance mix, just to watch the people try to figure out what to do.

  4. Joan says

    Ah.. Anxiety. Bummer. BUT If music soothes then this ditty from the sea may give you a little vacation from travails on land. (grin)

  5. rikitiki says

    …somehow, this seemed apropos:

    Oops, Sorry.

    Just when he’d started
    To get his life together,
    The angel appeared.
    Dressed in sooty rags
    And battered, rusty halo,
    Face of tarnished brass,
    And corroded copper smile,
    It gently informed him
    He had hit the wrong space.
    The one marked: Start Again.
    “What of my accomplishments?”
    “Can’t bend the rules,”
    The angel replied.
    “Of course,” it said,
    Depositing him at his birth,
    “You’ll forget this.”
    “Wha???” he cried
    To the empty air.

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