When I don’t have any answers

‘Anxiety’ Arturo Leal 

I’ve been putting this off.

I’ve been putting it off because sometimes, being honest about where I am is too painful to admit. When I do admit it, people often want me to talk about it, they want to know ‘why’ without asking me why.

The trouble is, I don’t have any answers. I only have questions.

About why my mind is a prison

and why now.

My questions are a long list of complaints,

and fears, directed to no one

and everyone all at once.

How do you stay so happy?

Why are you not afraid?

Why are you not gripped by the arresting fear that something bad, something terrible, something unimaginable will happen to you if you continue to eat that sandwich, continue to walk down that street, continue on in your normal life the way that you are?

I have so many whys, but none of them are the right one

for this.

Why can’t I control it?

Why doesn’t this coping mechanism, t

his painful coping mechanism that has been carved out of me from years of terrible practise,

Why have the bolts fallen out of it?

Why is it broken now, when it worked three months ago?

The bedroom, the blankets, the soft voices on the television,

these are meant to be my comforts and they have

let me down, or I have let myself down.

How can I know which one it is?

Blame is heavy on my shoulders

like the scratchy weight of my old University gown,

a constant irritant and a constant question:

What did I do? What did I do?

What did I do?




No answers then, I am afraid to say. And I am afraid to say it – I guess I am concerned that people will stop listening to my words if I have nothing to say about growth, about change, about how things can get better. Maybe they will stop listening, and maybe that’s right for them. Because sometimes gazing at another persons darkness only gives you darkness.

It’s all been a bit dark from where I’m sitting at the moment.

What can you do when all of the weapons you use to fight the demon suddenly break and fall apart?

Lie down and pretend to be dead?

Fight with your bare hands?

Hope someone else appears to fight for you?


You retreat.

I am retreating; from advice, from confidence, from feeling like I have a handle on this. Because even if I do, I don’t feel like it. I no longer feel like I am holding things together in the way I was at the end of last year.

Fighting has exhausted me, and I am too defeated to keep fighting for my every day normality. I need to retreat.

So just for now, I can’t tell you how it will get better, how it got better for me. For now, I can’t tell you that medicine makes a difference and community is key. I can’t tell you there’s a way out.

Because I am just too damned tired.


Some people might read this and think ‘Dear God, she’s a suicide risk!’

People who know me day to day might say, ‘I think she’s exaggerating how bad it is. She doesn’t seem this sad.’

Here’s some truth: I’m not a suicide risk, and it’s important also to note at this point that the act of blogging itself is a bit anti-suicide. It is personal therapy, the working out, the talking out of dark feelings. Suicide risks are often people on the down-swing or up-swing of a dip in their mental health. Not people like me who are currently too tired for bloody anything. Suicide is active, suicide requires effort. Suicide also requires a certain type of aggression and impulsiveness that I simply don’t have. There is too much anxiety involved in suicide.

(I don’t mean any of this lightly, what I mean to say is that if your friends or family members talk about hurting themselves or seem very low, don’t assume the worst. Maybe they are asking for help. Maybe they just want to be honest.)

As for exaggerating, maybe I am. I am grateful for what I have, maybe I should be more grateful.

But I don’t think gratefulness is going to stop the panic. I don’t think gratefulness is going to stop the depression.

Here’s some more truth: I don’t seem sad, it’s true. Because I’m not always sad. Sometimes I am, but mostly I am always anxious. That state of mind that you feel before an exam, or after a car accident, or when you dream that you are falling and wake up sharply? That is, on a sliding scale, pretty much the normal pitch of my mind. I’m not always sad about it. I am always tired by it, literally, physically exhausted. I’m not always sad about it. I am frustrated by it, angered by it, and a bit hopeless about it.

But I’m not always sad.

And you can be frustrated and angry and hopeless (and even sad)  whilst carrying a normal conversation. Sometimes you can even be them at work, or when you are shopping.

I might not look like a depressed person, but I’m a person and I’m depressed.


Here are some articles that I am reading at the moment, attempting to find a why for what’s going on inside my head. Some of them help practically, others just help because they tell me it’s not just me in this hole. Other people fell in too. Some even climbed out.

How pinterest might be saving lives – there is a community of people sharing and talking instead of hiding and hurting. I think that is good.

Anxiety toolbox – since the tools I usually have have proved to be not quite up for the job, I’ve been looking around. None of her ideas are obviously written in stone for everyone, but I found the guidance for handling a panic attack very helpful.

24 Comics that capture the frustration of anxiety – number 7.

14 best songs for people with anxiety – Sometimes music really helps when you don’t think it will, because the usual loud tunes might fill you with dread. The songs I go to most often are ‘The Call’ by Regina Specktor and ‘Safe and Sound,’ by the Civil wars/Taylor Swift.




5 thoughts on “When I don’t have any answers

  1. I am with you, tossing and turning yet another ruck in the sheets which just seems to lay across the bone and nerve at the moment, and yet, somehow, mostly asleep, (as long as I don’t get annoyed with it) – note to self: make the bed properly tomorrow morning, maybe even wash the whole damn lot; the only time things get done when I have a ruck

    I’ve had a deep-tissue pull working its way around my back for the past 4/5 months; I’ve learnt that backs never go away (thank goodness), rather I’ve learnt to sit up straight a little, for awhile

    someone told me that everything just changes by itself, if you are patient enough; I didn’t get that until I read this: ‘Before I had studied Chan (Zen) for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers’ (Qingyuan Weixin, translated D.T. Suzuki, “Essays in Zen Buddhism”)

    I am with you in your bewilderment, but you are still by yourself; thank you for sharing

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