Anxiety grips me again. Grip is the proper term for it, since it feels like something is squeezing you, like a hand trying to crush your heart and push out all your breath. My heart beats faster and you hear your pulse in your head, as if your heart is telling you that it’s about to blow up. My head fills with irrational thoughts and I do not know what to do. I wring my hands and my feet twist as if this act would calm me down. It doesn’t but I do it away.
Times like these I try breathe. I pretend to have an invisible cigarette in my hand and I take a long slow drag on it, imaginary smoke entering my lungs, imaginary nicotine invigorating me. Somehow this calms me down. This reminds me to take a deep breathe, that everything is going to be okay. I become still again.
I also walk. Something about rhythm of my two feet pounding the pavement just takes my mind off things. One time I walked the length of Ayala from Forbes Park to Makati Medical Center and then back again. I do not know why this helps. My theory is that the primitive part of my brain remembers the hunter in me whenever I walk and because hunting for game is dangerous, my mind shuts off all those distracting thoughts. There’s also the sense of moving forward instead of wandering aimlessly in circles. That sensation of falling forward, that each stumbling step is taking me to someplace better, is strangely comforting.
This has been my life recently. I’ve become a caricature of myself. A part of me hates what I am right now. It’s telling me that I cannot live this way. The other part is much more dangerous though. It’s telling me that this is the real me – this crazy person that cannot control himself. That’s when I’m glad my mind is bifurcated into these two competing halves. I’m glad because in the middle of all this is the person who I truly am and maybe someday I’ll find out who that is.