Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Stress, anxiety, and loss of control play unfortunate parts in the struggle to survive. The emotional toll can be extreme while the the mental toll exhaustively debilitating. Compound these and the worry and damage will find ways to manifest itself physically.

People may put on weight through a binge or lose weight with a loss of appetite, suffer crushing panic attacks and uncontrollable crying, become paranoid or unrealistic, seek dangerous ways to cope through escaping into the misleading numb of drugs or alcohol, or turn to self-harm to try to regain a sense of control through injury. Thoughts and actions can plot elaborately suicidal or casually painful.

It affects the core of who you are and hurts. You can get lost in it. Fixate and become obsessive. The mind overthinks and the heart grows weary. It eats away at you.

Once lost in the maze of anxiety, it is hard to regain control. Often survivors grapple with the stress by creating these physical outlets as a way to re-channel the pain.

Watch for the signs hiding behind a survivor's smile. The truth is in their eyes, on their bodies, in the way they walk, or wear their clothes. Subtle cues on and around them that show the truth of the loss of control gnawing at them. (Some are not so subtle to the point of being far too painfully obvious.)

As a survivor, stop for a moment amid the madness and look for the signs within and around you. Try to regain control in a way which doesn't cause further damage by acknowledging and accepting what you can not control. But, forgive yourself the moments when it becomes too much.

Life is bigger and harder then it prepares us for. We have to find a way through it and the manifestations of its toll on us all.

(Note: Right now, this survivor's chewed up life is acute and obvious on my hands, if you bother to look close enough. When touching hurts, something is wrong. We all must fight to breathe brave, but it isn't always easy.)

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