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"I want to be held till my anxiety goes to sleep" by sloane angelou

On days like today, I want to be held in silence. No romance. Just friendship and hands, holding me firm and tight till all the anxiety locked in my joints vanishes.

This might sound crazy but it is true; I am anxious most of the time but never fearful. Over the years it has become very difficult to hold fear in my chest, there's just no room. Once a stranger asked me to explain to them how they could sense I was very anxious but yet so calm - I could not, it just is.

On days like today, I stay in bed, cuddle myself, then rock my body back and forth till I either doze off or feel the anxiety become silent. Slowly but steadily it stills. It never really goes away but I have learnt how to tackle it. I rock my body back and forth, but on some days I wish someone else would do it for me. No romance. Just friendship and hands, holding me firm and tight till all the anxiety locked in my joints vanishes.

I wasn’t much of an anxious child, at least not until I started to encounter the world in loud and rough chunks. Events, malls, churches, neighbors, refugee camps, the death of loved ones (one family member or friend at a time) then the growing anxiety became more and more aggressive. It feels as though it has always been there: lurking behind my chest while I spent ridiculous hours reading books and watching archived interviews in my mother's office, hiding itself in the joints in my legs while I danced or played street football with other kids in my grandmother's village, just waiting for the right moment to strike.

Every exposure to real life must have been a signal for its madness to turn the volume up in my breath, that's where it stays - I just know.

I have taught myself how to manage and still my anxiety over the years, but on some days like today, after reading and writing all morning, pitching and negotiating with survival, avoiding sleep and trying to forget my life. On days like this I wish I could have someone alive in their flesh and bones beside me to hold me firm and tight, to rock with me back and forth in silence till my anxiety stills or I go to sleep. No romance. Just friendship and hands.

Water. Steady breathing. Conscious distraction. Silence. Music. Smoking. Writing. These are some of the mechanisms I have used over time to measure how long I have before my anxiety leads to madness.

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