I'm sat on the tube going to meet my mum and some family friends for lunch and I'm waiting for that tiny little voice in my head to start pounding my brain with fear. On days when I really put all my energy into helping myself I can use some of my CBT techniques to calm myself down but some situations always bring out an intense anxiety that no amount of coping strategies will help, for me travelling is one of those things.
"There's a suitcase over there, no one is touching it and loads of people have gotten on and off"
I'm starting to scan all the people sat by it, willing my brain to try and figure out who's it is as my anxiety starts feeding itself off my fear. I start tapping my leg and picking at my lips. I'm looking for anything, a quick touch of the suitcase, a glance in its direction. Anything to acknowledge whose it might be.
"There's definitely a bomb in it. You should get off the train, Jasmine. You know I'm right, just get off at the next stop."
My leg tapping gets quicker and my eyes are darting from one side of the train to the other. I'm now worrying that people are looking at me weirdly. I desperately try to focus on the music playing in my headphones but it isn't loud enough to drown the voice in my head. I start debating whether I should get off at the next stop.
"No wait, don't get off because then the whole plan of the journey is derailed. We spent time this morning worrying about being on time and everything going to plan."
My mind is racing, do I feed into my anxiety and get off the train or do I push through it so I don't screw up my journey? Suddenly I notice the next stop is mine. Ok, one more stop and all this is sorted. What are the chances of anything going wrong within one stop, I mean really? I stand up and move my way through the crowds of people to get by the door. I can feel my breathing changing and I'm willing myself to calm down before a panic attack starts. Finally I'm off and for just a second all my fears have vanished, I can breath.
"You're such an idiot, why on earth did you think there was a bomb on that suitcase? You know you shouldn't listen to me, I'm always wrong but you're stupid enough to fall for it every time."
And so starts the next phase, the beating myself up over what just happened. This one lasts the longest and is often the most painful. You see, I know all my anxieties are irrational and I know the likelihood of them actually happening is pretty slim but it's that tiny chance they could that gets me every damn time. There's a voice inside my brain that overtakes my whole body and makes me believe every whisper it utters. I try my very best but anxiety's voice is a powerful one.
Next time you see a nervous mess of a person, don't stare because you don't know the demons they are battling. Offer a reassuring smile and continue doing whatever it was that you were doing before their fierce leg tapping caught your attention.
Hey there, I'm Jasmine, your average 21 year old working as a nanny and play assistant. Maybe Tomorrow follows my journey living with mental health issues and chronic pain, all whilst trying to have some fun along the way.
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