January 25, 2018
By Anonymous

In a field, filled with all sorts of tans, browns, and greens, there is a boy. He is 17 years of age, with short orange hair, freckles, and bright blue eyes. He is walking with his mother, with six goats, two dogs and two cats strolling leisurely behind them. This boy’s name is Thomas. He runs ahead to see if his dogs will run after him, but of course, the canines are too infatuated with his mother and decided to stay close to her, as if they were too afraid to get lost. It is mid June, and the boy and his mom finish up their walk in the country field, as the sun beams onto their skin like a warm fire. Thomas spends most of his time either swimming, drawing, or hanging around his family’s farm. The problem that Thomas faces is that he suffers from terrible anxiety. He could hardly go one full day without breaking down with worries. His biggest fear that plagues him is abandonment, or autophobia. Most likely brought on by nightmares, he has never been neglected or abandoned. Anxiety has a life of its own. Sometimes the fear is so consuming, and while at other times just resides in the back of his mind. The poor boy can’t even think straight, and he feels as if his body is as light as a feather, while his mind being as heavy as a boulder. His mother tells him that his worries would all go away if he could just find his key. She suggests a distraction might be a good idea, perhaps, he could join her in the studio?

Thomas has been trying to lock up his autophobia in a box. You see, the key fits the box that will hold any worries, anxiety, or stress. Thomas feels as if he has been searching for the key to lock up his worries for 17 years. He has been told that the key is closer than he thinks, but Thomas swears he has looked absolutely everywhere. His search is so exhausting, and feels as if he has climbed the tallest mountain of the alps just looking for the key. He grows weary, as if he had held his breath to swim to the bottom of crater lake looking for the silver treasure. His hope is like a roller coaster, sometimes being very high with determination, and others low with defeat. These days of defeat are incredibly hard on Thomas, because it takes some time to bounce back from his aching fear of abandonment. Some days all Thomas will do is sleep, and hope that the key will come to him. When it comes down to it, all Thomas wants is to go to rest peacefully, mindfully, in his own bed, in the quiet of his farm.

Thomas is very tired from his mental striving to find relief from his anxiety. His legs are weary and his arms sore. He has been looking for so long. All he wants is to be calm and at peace within himself. He started to wonder if maybe the key was lost forever, and that he would never be able to find it. Perhaps there was no key.  Thomas depends on a good night sleep to help him. He took a hot shower, and went to bed. The next morning when Thomas wakes up, he is very determined, yet still very anxious about being left alone in his life. His mother mentioned joining her in the studio. This was not such a bad idea, maybe he can find a release for his stress and anxiety through a brush! He makes his way to his mother’s studio, grabs a canvas,some paints and a brush. He begins to create. His imagination runs wild. He began to feel free. All of these thoughts, all of these worries, are easily released through the paintbrush. Bright colors, strong contrasts, and bright figures, helped evoke emotion swirling in Thomas’s mind. Sometimes Thomas just enjoys painting flowers, and sometimes drawing literal keys helps to calm him down. Yet, a lot of his paintings focused on his autophobia, and he would paint himself being alone in different situations, weather it be in a forest, or at a lake, or surrounded by flowers. Thomas began to paint as part of his daily routine, and would pick up a brush whenever his mind started to run wild and his fear would begin to take over. He would try to expose himself to his fear by painting his worries.

Of course, Thomas will still occasionally spin in anxiety here and there, but now he holds a key. When anxiety and fear presents itself, he will grab his key, his brush, and relax in painting scenes from his marvelous farm. Thomas is very grateful for this, due to the fact that  he has been plagued for so long. He felt relief in holding his key to lock up his worries. His mother assured him that now that his key had been found he can use it at anytime his worries carried him away. His imagination and his soul held the key all along. For some time, Thomas remained on his farm painting and continuing to adventure every day, while always keeping his key in mind.

The author's comments:

I am a 17 year old visual artist who wrote a story about a boy with anxiety. 

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