I Will Not Lose Today

How a coworker talking about my abuser during work gave me a panic attack and I worked through it.

'Maybe this won't be that bad'

But, as all famous last words, I was to be mistaken.

Shortly afterwards, I noticed that I was twitchy. Looking at everything, taking everything in.

Every single movement caught my eye. I had to look at everything, had to know everything. Sure, it was just a bird flying out the window, but I had to know that, I had to confirm it. Full head swivel, pupils bouncing from subject to subject, memorizing everything within view.

My leg, already pretty prone to bouncing, was now doing so with a veracity that left me tired even thinking about it. Beyond pulsing, beyond bouncing, it was almost shaking, almost tremoring. Back ramrod straight, but legs moving, fingers twitching, toes curling. Either still as stone or continuous movement, there was no in between.

This, however, was ignored at first.

But, when I realized my eyes were tired from the constant focusing, and that that slow creeping climb up my neck was starting, I knew I was trapped.

Anxiety was crawling its way up from the very center of my being, the very core of my soul. Making its way up my neck, leaving a weight there that was impossible to ignore with every single breath. Skin feeling tight, suddenly itchy all over. Each itch was mandatory, each was Anxiety trying to force its way out. Get to the real world. Make itself whole.

'Subtle as can be, take a good breath in, take a good breath out. Can't show weakness, can't let anyone know that a single name caused this. It's been years. I mean, sure you've heard the name (hell, even used it) since with no issues... but the way it was used struck you. Positively. With admiration.

It undid you.

It's just a fucking name.'

Every reply given, measured. Every word uttered, tempered. Keep the voice even, don't allow Anxiety to seep in. Focus on the job, focus on the conversation. Keep Anxiety down until it realizes that a name does not summon. I am safe.

Even if my stomach does not agree. Even if the shaking and tremoring have reached my organs, stomach unable to sit still. The rolling feeling adding an extra label of difficulty to the goal to not let Anxiety have my voice.

I am already ashamed of the emotion allowed in my dissent of the name.

I cannot allow it to have my voice.

It will stay put, it will realize that things are okay, that I am not in danger.

Even as the room shakes and spins, even as I am teeming and feel like everything is both too small and too big and that there will never be enough.

I am not in danger.

And, so, I must continue on.

The name will not control my voice. The name will not control my body. The name will not control me.

Just as the man behind the name does not any longer.

And so, Anxiety will not win. Despite how strongly it fights the battle within.

Anxiety will not win this day.