Trigger warning: This article could be triggering for people dealing with anxiety.
I never planned on bringing her home or making her stay. I wouldn’t deny that she wasn’t there, but had never thought that she’d find herself a comfortable corner to reside and grow in. I called out for help – to help me move her out – but I guess she found comfort in me, and I in her.
I don’t remember when she decided to make space for herself. She was so tiny when she came – sitting in a corner, propped, with sudden jumps to grab my attention. She did grab my attention, when I was laughing uncontrollably or when I used to go to bed, or in the most unusual happy times. A little tap on the shoulder or just her curling up next to me comforted her. And I was there, accepting her presence.
In a few days, she grew, in size and capacity; she was not limited to a corner or shut in the cupboard, she now sat in my room, waiting for me to come back. She grew selfish with time; she couldn’t make peace with the fact that I had other things in my life that needed attention. Soon, my walk became slower than her chase. I didn’t have the energy to run, and she understood this. She held my hand and walked with me, never letting me go.
She is almost two years old now, and growing each and every day. She definitely understands everything going on around her. She responds weirdly to love, care, relationships, friendships, food, sleep, phone calls, workspace etc; basically, day-to-day activities. She definitely gets excited at the mention of these activities, and wants to be included. Earlier, I was successful in keeping her out, but now, as she’s growing, she’s overpowering everything related to me.
She is HUGE. And she knows her way around me. She knows when I am in a meeting or surrounded by my loved ones. She knows when I am in deep sleep or just dancing around the house. She knows her place, which is right next to me, holding me.
I’ve tried talking to her, she is not a very patient listener. Extremely judgemental and not calm at all. She has been sleeping with me for quite some time, and every time I wake up with a jolt or in shock, she takes responsibility for it. She takes full-fledged responsibility for my panic attacks and lack of trust and self-doubt and episodes of crying. She fights with me, pulls me down whenever I try to get up, hugs me, and now is a part of me.
She doesn’t talk, she does things. She doesn’t let me sleep. She doesn’t let me work. Constant nudging and pushing and shoving; when I fall down and find it difficult to get up, she is there. Smiling at me, and then settling on the ground next to me. She gives me this reassurance that staying on the ground is what I deserve and that I should remember it. If, by mistake, I come out of it, she comes in full force and pulls me down with her. Then we stay on the ground, for days, hugging each other. With her, comforting me, caressing my hair and giving back rubs. I confide in her, hug her back, believing that she’ll protect me from everything, even if it means keeping me away from everybody and just the two of us living together.
I still haven’t made peace with her. Her comfort feels suffocating, her hugs feel a bit tighter around my chest. She clenches my wrist and pulls me to herself whenever I try moving away. It sounds scary, and it’s even scarier when it actually happens. The tears, the lost motivation, the inability to get out of bed, the panic attacks – all of it are the result of the effect that she has on me.
However, over the past few months, I have seen her losing. I’ve seen myself getting up from the ground and reaching out while she just lies there, still. She extends her hand towards me, to help her get up and pull me back to herself. But I have seen her failing. I have seen her become weak and helpless. I wouldn’t say that she has lost her power entirely, but she definitely is shrinking. I don’t find her on my bed now or in the bathroom when I shower. She’s shrinking into her corner. She still waits for me to come back, and tries her best to pull me down with her. But it doesn’t work anymore. She has lost that effect.
Writing this is also a part of acknowledging the effect that she has on me and also the fact that she’s losing. I am glad that I am losing her. Soon, she won’t be there anymore or maybe I’ll become indifferent to her being there. I can’t wait for that day, when I leave her behind in that pit of self-doubt and just climb up and never come back. I’ll accept her as being a part of me, but only a temporary one. She is definitely important – too important for me to just let go and move on.
Baby steps, but I am doing it.
Gargi Yadav is a development communication practitioner from Rajasthan. She identifies as an asexual woman.
Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty