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​Have you ever been jealous? I’m not talking about how we (women) felt when Auntie Badu striped down and body shamed us ALL.

Have you ever been jealous of someone’s joy? Well, I have. And before you call me a hater lend me your ear (eyes) if you will.

At one point in my life I became envious of how people could go throughout life and nothing bothered them. You know the type of people who go through hell and back and smile everyday as if they bought a timeshare there. My anxiety would (and still does) take me to hell and back and I found it hard to smile. For those who don’t know me, I wear my heart on my sleeve hence, I’m clad in a long sleeve turtle neck 25/8 (sometimes the sleeves aren’t enough).

I often wondered how everyone else coped with the world or more importantly, their world. Honestly I still do on my days below sea level. Trying to find an outlet when things get too heavy is one of the many puzzles I’m trying to solve. It still puzzles me how alcohol, sex, drugs, exercising, and transference seem to work for others when they’re overwhelmed. Then one day, I realized we all hide in some form or fashion. It took me years to realize that many people mask their pain and stress and one few know how to truly cope.

I guess this is where I shed a piece clothing or the proverbial skeleton falls out of the closet. (Taps mic) I am a serial escapist. For years I have found ways to isolate myself when my thoughts and emotions began to suffocate me. When I say “isolate” I’m not speaking of locking myself in a room for a few hours. I’m talking off the grid like America’s Most Wanted.

For instance, on one occasion I packed a bag and flew to another state in order to escape. My world was closing in on me and I couldn’t bear to answer questions or stomach empty “I’m here if you need me” statements. I slept for hours and it seemed as though my thoughts manifested into reality because a horrible storm tore through the city as I rested. At that point, just like many others, I felt like I would self destruct. Knowing a panic attack is on the verge, just lingering over you waiting, is one of the worse and most vulnerable feelings. My brain was such a cluster around that time, I remember driving circles around my friend’s neighborhood and breaking down because I just couldn’t find her house (though I’d been there millions of times).

Though I knew people faced worse situations, I didn’t understand how they could go on without losing their mind. It also bothered me that I was so “sensitive” and despite my urge to be indifferent, I felt everything at once.

Perhaps now you understand how I’d be a wee bit jealous of those who take everything with a grain of salt. Being able to get over things or save face and cope in a comfortable environment is a strength I pray for daily. Instead I still feel the need to run away from everyone and their voices and opinions and glares scared of confrontation or a meltdown. The only thing worse than having a panic attack is having a panic attack before an audience.

Anxiety isn’t a once in a blue moon disorder. It’s everyday, every hour, every minute and every second. Every problem be it trivial or serious is magnified. There is no off switch when your brain is a tornado. It’s captivating, terrifying, spontaneous, mysterious, and sometimes destructive. And sometimes you have to get away.

​”I tried to run it away thought then my head be feeling clearer. I traveled 70 states thought moving round make me feel better.” (Solange)

R.L. Ducksworth is a Baton Rouge, Louisiana native. She resides in Louisiana with her husband and adorable litter of books. Ducksworth has a passion for writing stories, poems, and nonfiction prose that shed light on realism and fantasy. She is a LSU (Louisiana State University) alumna that holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. Ducksworth is currently working on her debut novel.

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