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Momentary Bliss: Is It Worth It?
My heart started racing. I could feel the drum in my chest beating as hard as it could. Sweat began to pour from every possible location on my body. This was just the beginning. Soon my breaths became rapid and shallow. I couldn’t move, couldn’t see, and couldn’t speak. Sadly, I’m used to this. It was just a matter of time before it passed; I could already feel the worst of it moving on. Anxiety attacks are commonplace in my life at this point.
It’s always something trivial, as miniscule in the universal spectrum as an amoeba or a flea, which brings one about. It doesn’t feel this way at the time; I’m blinded by the impenetrable fog that enters my mind as I slowly begin to lose all sense of conscious thought. The only thing left in my head is the realization that whatever it is has gotten the best of me. Whether it is a girl or a bad grade bringing about the attack and causing the minutes of agonizing discomfort, the feelings are always the same. My life flashes by in seconds as I’m trying to calm down but seeing the painful events that have shaped who I am today do nothing to quench my innermost fears that usually cause the anxiety attack in the first place. The specific event is just a catalyst reminding me of something that I would do everything possible to forget.
“James? Are you okay?” asked Lynn, the only girl who knew me well enough to tell when a pause in a conversation wasn’t just a predictable silence. “It happened again, didn’t it?”
“Nah, I’m fine. Don’t worry,” I answered quickly; too quickly as a matter of fact. She is the only person who knows that when I rush to answer a question it’s usually the first lie that comes to mind. Another thing about me: besides the fact that I have anxiety problems, I’m also a compulsive liar. I really can’t help it but years of insecurities forced me to develop this response to any antagonism.
“Okay James, cut the crap. What was it this time?”
I could tell she was really worried about me but in the mental state I was in I perceived every question as an attempt to infiltrate the impenetrable fortress known as my heart. The last time I let someone into it, I was shattered into millions of tiny pieces and have yet to pick them all back up. As much as I love Lynn, I couldn’t see past the fact that I was hurt so badly before.
“I told you! Nothing! Now leave me the **** alone!” I exclaimed with every ounce of rage pouring out of my soul. “Why would I lie to you? Like seriously, why do you not believe me?” I continued to rant until I was blue in the face but Lynn did nothing but listen to every word I said. She didn’t scream back, didn’t try and calm me down. She just stood there and took everything I said in stride knowing that once I realized the error of my ways I would apologize sincerely.
It’s really sad that this has happened so many times that by now Lynn knows how to react. At least I have a best friend like her though, someone who understands me and knows that sometimes all I need to feel better is to just be able to spill my feelings, scream and shout until I have no energy left to do anything else. If I had a heart that wasn’t surrounded by a brick wall just to protect me from breaking down completely it would be completely and utterly devoted to her. But I don’t and never will again after what happened. I would never admit it to Lynn, just the mention of that period in my life irks her to the nth degree, but it was a text related to Emily that got me so agitated in the first place. The majority of the time, the mere mention of her name sets me into mental fits. Lynn hates that a girl who I don’t even speak to still has this kind of effect on me thus hating even the mention of her name.
It all started that one day in February. I barely remember what was going on in my life at the time; it doesn’t even matter in retrospect. All I know is that Emily told me that she broke up with him and my heart skipped beats left and right. At the time she was my best friend though, the only person I could completely open up to and confide my every thought and my every feeling in. It was the stupidest decision I ever made, not acting on my impulses and instead going with my better judgment and keeping quiet. That night I had my first anxiety attack, brought on by the realization that no matter what all she would be was a friend-nothing more. My first anxiety attack brought on by my greatest fear: rejection. How ****ing fitting.
It hasn’t been the same since that day. My heart throbbed as if it were being pounded by a hammer repeatedly every time I saw Emily. The smile was glued to my face whenever we spoke. It was like a pencil was stuck in my mouth, prying my cheeks apart and displaying a radiant happiness that I have yet to compare to anything else in my life. No single event in my life has brought about the bliss that she caused just being in my presence. Nothing is comparable. Even during the worst of times between us, when I was ready to rip her head off with every ounce of rage in my body and allow the adrenaline pumping through my veins to get the best of me, I still loved the fact that I was with her. Too bad it couldn’t last. It seems like those kinds of things never do.
My next anxiety attack wasn’t for months after that first one. I thought it was a fluke; a one in a million occurrence that just so happened to appear around the same time in my life that my feelings for her did. As a matter of fact, I completely forgot about it because I was so wrapped up in completing junior high school and moving on in life. That is, until I saw her with him. Kissing him and caressing him; doing everything with him that I wished for her to be doing with me instead. While I had no one, she had him, and I tried to justify my feelings by saying that I was happy that she was happy. Bull****. I knew that was a lie from the moment I said it to myself but I continued to repeat it until it became as close to the truth as anything I had ever said. The second attack was the night that I found out that they were back together. She told me that it was meant to be, that she only broke up with him to send a message. Turns out, I got the message more than he did. It was all good for him though; he got the girl. I got a box of tissues and Lynn’s support.
When they broke up again, I became optimistic. This time it was for good; I was certain of it. What I wasn’t certain of was who she would turn to next. I was blinded by my love for her at this point. I got my hopes up, yet again, thinking that her breaking up with him was giving me an opportunity. I completely neglected the fact that something was up when she started hanging out in her neighborhood more. I thought that blowing me off to spend more time with them was her version of playing hard to get; I ate it up. When she told me that she had substantially strong feelings for another guy I felt like a rock tumbling down a cliff side, hitting every possible tree and boulder on the way down. Cue anxiety attack number three. The smart thing at this point would have been to stop talking to her. But I couldn’t do that, wouldn’t do it. I was too stubborn and too blind. Everyone around me, especially Lynn, could see that I was changing. I was becoming more sullen and pessimistic on a daily basis. I still had hope though.
Fast forward a year. I stayed friends with her and learned to live with the pain of an aching heart. Every time I saw her I felt my heart attempt to jump out of my chest and grab its soul mate. Finally, I got my chance. Another anxiety attack, after at this point I had lost count of how many I had, hit me so hard that I finally came to the conclusion that I just had to tell her how I felt. In the simplest way possible to describe it, I got played like a fiddle. The mixed signals were perceived in the way I wanted them to be; all I saw were the flirtatious comments and the affectionate actions. The hesitation was lost to me like a fisherman in a torrential downpour. The anxiety attacks ceased for a short period of time, short in terms of my entire life but long enough for me to think that I was finally over them.
When she told me that she didn’t love me and didn’t even believe that I loved her, it was worse than any pain in my life. What brought this about, I don’t even know. An unimportant argument over words that had been better left unsaid I’m sure. Doesn’t even matter at this point. All I know is that it happened. My heart, which I completely and utterly gave to her, was shattered. It was a block of ice battered with a sledgehammer until the pieces were minute. Cue anxiety attack number… who the **** knows.
“Um…James? You done?” inquired Lynn. She had been patiently waiting during this trip down memory lane; she didn’t even know what was going on in my head. I could see on her face the lines etched from the worrying watching me pace back and forth deep in thought for the past hour.
“Yeah, thanks. Listen, I really need to be alone. Can I talk to you later?” I asked as calmly as possible. My rage finally subsiding, I was able to think with a clear head. I reread the text in a tranquil state of mind and deleted it immediately. Thought it was not from Emily, it might as well have been. Her best friend, also a good friend of mine, let me know that she wanted to see me. They both conveniently happened to be near enough that I could walk over and visit them; the last thing an enraged anxious heartbroken teenager should do in a moment like that. But of course, what did I do? Went and visited them.
Emily ran to me and jumped on me as soon as I got close enough that she could see me. Having her in my arms again felt so right; it was as if this was the way the universe intended. I knew it wouldn’t last though. When I’m around her, the happiness never lasts. I can’t help jumping at every opportunity to see her even though I know in the long run it will just come back and bite me in the ***. For momentary bliss, the pain is worth it.