Every so often (and much more often recently), I have what I call an “anxiety day.” I wake up and the weight of inexplicable dread cuts off my breath like a pillow. It fills every crevice of my body, every corner of the room, crackling through every molecule of air and matter. It’s as if I’ve stepped out of bed and directly onto the lip of a cliff.

And if you know me, you know how I feel about heights.

Even the simplest decisions, what to have for breakfast, whether to boil more water for tea, feel heavy, serious, impossible. A neighbor cranks up their stereo and I am overcome by a tangible, sparkling electric rage. I’m restlessly lazy, unable to sit still, unable to move. I consider a nap, but close my eyes only to be confronted by an endless to-do list, alongside every professional and personal task I’ve failed or let slide since birth.

I don’t confront my neighbor, because I know that on this day of all days I’m only capable of spitting unhelpful sarcasm and insults. I plug in a fan, which gets some air circulating and creates sufficient white noise to dampen his greatest-country-hits soundtrack. It’s Sunday afternoon. I need to grade some assignments, catch up on some email.

Instead, I sit entombed, anxiety’s grip strong. More tea. As for the rest, perhaps tomorrow.


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