“Your name gets thrown around a lot in our current social climate. Anxiety. Everything gives people anxiety now. We never heard your name 20 years ago, and now you’re one of the most frequently discussed health disorders in history.
Some people swear you don’t exist, and that’s how I know you’re the d*mn devil. People who don’t necessarily feel you don’t seem to grasp—no, some don’t even believe—you warrant any merit.
Because to them, you’re just that. A feeling. For those who simply ‘feel anxiety’ in situational context, you can be stomached and put away until that situation is resolved.
A typical relationship with you is long distance; you come and go like a distant parent. You pop up from time to time, stay for the weekend, rearrange the silverware drawer, and then you’re gone. Irritating, but no real harm done.
But those who feel you in your most effective form know you’re a completely different monster. For those who suffer your presence as a disorder, you’re an abusive spouse.
You never leave. You loom over them, waiting for any and every opportunity to take their joy; any sign of strife, and you jump out from the back of their mind and cave their chest in with a quick, crushing blow. You ruin everything.
For my wife, you moved in the day she received a phone call from her mom—her best friend, and daily confidante—letting her know doctors had found a 24-pound tumor on one of her ovaries.
You destroyed her peace again when her parents sat us down and explained the cancer her mom had fought off had come back a second time.
Then there’s the day our son suddenly went limp, turned blue in her arms, eyes rolling back and tongue locked to the roof of his mouth. We had no idea David could ever be seizure-prone before that night.
She will never forget that visual, or that feeling of helplessness. And I will never forgive you for taking advantage of that. She relives it every time she hears him cough, or gasp—which he does frequently and for no reason.
He thinks it’s funny, but I watch you grip her throat every single time. I know d*mn well I’m bound to fight against you every day for the rest of my life…
And I will. I will never give up on my wife. Come hell or high water, I will see to it she reclaims her life from your grip one day. I wish you’d make it easier on all of us and just leave.
My biggest problem with you is I can’t rationalize you away. I can’t simply say to my wife, who’s curled up in the fetal position, shaking and crying, trying to dodge your incoming blows, ‘There’s nothing to worry about.’
She knows that. She’s already spent too much time screaming those same words at herself in her own head. I can’t outwit you with logic; you don’t care about logic. You don’t care about anything.
I have grown such a disdain for you that you almost convinced me to start lying to my wife. To keep headaches to myself. To willfully keep myself from admitting to any off-putting feeling or notion, as a means of preventing you from grabbing hold of her in front of me. To keep myself in a perpetual state of ‘nothing to see here, don’t worry—be happy.’
My hatred for you almost overrides my love for her at times. Almost. There’s no way to explain to her it’s YOU I’m frustrated with, when she’s locked up in worry about nothing.
I’m pissed off at YOU for existing, not at her for succumbing to your lying, intention-thieving schemes. I hate you with everything in me.
You’re officially on notice, Anxiety. You may have the upper hand for now, but I’m working against you every day—and I love her harder than you’ll ever hit her. You’ll never find yourself welcome in our home, and every time you try to ‘teach her a lesson,’ I’m going to be there, working against you.
Every time you make her feel like there’s nothing she can do, I’m going to be there, reminding her of everything she’s already done. When you try to convince her she’s unworthy, I’m going to remind her she’s absolutely priceless.
Every time you convince her tragedy is certain, I’m going to take her hand and walk with her through whatever lies you’re telling; reminding her she’s not alone.
You will never have another conversation with her I am not a part of. I’m on to you; I see you coming now. You might think you have control—that you can shut my wife down at your own whim and will.
Given the amount of time you’ve had to become the monster you are, I imagine you think you’ve got a stronger hold on her than I do.
The flaw in your logic is that I love her.
And love always wins.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Andrew Heffner. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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