What Anxiety Physically Feels Like

Sat in the interview room of the psych ward, squirming in my seat & crying, I was first asked the question ‘do you suffer from anxiety?’. I hadn’t thought that’s what it was. But since then my seat-squirming instantly brings out the ‘a’ word. As I type, this is how it feels:

Right in the centre of my chest, at the bit in the middle where hard sternum meets fleshy bulgy bit below, is the burning, squirming centre of it all. If I press down with my knuckles I can almost feel the hot force of it surging out. My heart sits & flutters, rather than beats, & breaths are shallow so I don’t feel like I have enough oxygen in me. My feet want to flex & point & circle, anything but stillness. My hands want to clench into tight fists, my arms close to my chest, hiding my mouth & body, squeezing it all back inside. I try to keep all my body parts tight in together, taking up as little space as possible. Every part tense desperate for my liquid thighs & upper arms not to flood out. I dig my nails into my skin, wanting to rip it all off. Please just let me out of this body!

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