Anxiety is invading every cell of my body, spreading its poison violently and quickly. It makes my mind forget. It makes my fingers tingle. It makes my voice loud and my temper short. It chokes me, forcing me to gasp for shallow breaths of fresh air, as I’m determined not only to survive, but to turn around and kick its ass.

When it loosens its grip, my body and soul relax into some place of sanity, pushing the horrible experience to some far corner of my mind, hopefully never to be remembered again. I start to breathe easily… my muscles let go… peace washes over me like a warm shower.

But it always returns.

“Ride it out,” is what I tell my daughter when she battles her tough times. I used to think the goal was to eliminate negativity and anything that took me to a dark place, but maybe that’s not possible. The icky parts of life are inevitable. I can ignore them, sweep them under a rug, wallow in them, curse them, fight back… But I don’t think I can escape them altogether.

I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to wear a plastic smile. I don’t have to turn to mind-numbing substances or a deep despair that convinces me that I will never find happiness.

Sometimes the ride is hell, but I’m confident that peace and sanity will meet me at the end of it.

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