Soothing the Monster

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As soon as I got in the car this morning, my anxiety monster shifted to my chest and poured itself over my sternum, changing into a cold, dull weight.

I reached up and pressed my warm palm into my chest, hoping pressure and heat would soothe it, help it release its tentacles from my lungs.

It felt like it was working… until I took my hand away.

Cold, it clung tighter, twining itself around, so I quickly put my hand back. I kneaded my chest with my fingertips, trying to release the tension.

Once at work, I tried to hide my anxiety, walking quickly to stow my lunch and get my day started. The little tasks helped, but it was still there, pressing, gripping. I wanted to tell someone, but I didn’t want to sound like I was whining. I just wanted someone I trusted to know I was having an attack, but I chickened out at the last minute.

Walking down the hall, the back of my ribs ached, just like I’d gotten punched in the kidneys. Each breath was torture.

All I felt was despair. Would I have to endure this all day just to get my job done? Was today another day I’d have to leave and burn a sick day?

And then, miraculously, the anxiety monster shrank and softened and crept back up to my shoulder when I saw a friend and coworker who wanted to collaborate on today’s activity.

The pain was gone. I could breathe. Nothing was pressing on my chest. I was a little fatigued from the attack, but I was able to get my day started and get through the first few trials with no hassles and no recurrence… yet.

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