I’m the mouse in my class. And no, that doesn’t just mean I’m shy, and I keep to myself. I do that too, but there’s so much more to being a mouse.
I’m constantly on edge. I check on my surroundings all the time, and every little change makes me quiver. My senses pick up lots of information that is overwhelming, and like a true mouse, a small task seems monumental to me. When someone approaches me I panic, and I end up talking very fast and stuttering. Other times, I’m speechless. Frozen. I can’t remember how to talk at all. This is anxiety. This is what I live with.
Anxiety has become one of the ‘mainstream’ mental illnesses. Aka, everyone seems to have it nowadays. Those who don’t, are self proclaimed experts on the matter. However, anxiety is not just about feeling anxious. It’s about being crippled by anxiousness. There’s a difference. When anxiety attacks come, it's not always hyperventilating and rocking back and forth. I know people who get anxiety attacks that may be just them being suddenly extremely irritable, or very nit picky, or simply zoning out.
For a mouse, life is overwhelming. Even when literally nothing is happening. And in our head, we wonder why someone else would ever want to be friends with a mouse. And so we badger those who love us “do you really not hate me?” “you’re not going to leave me?”. It’s surprising, and somewhat ridiculous to them, but that’s just how our mind works. Anxiety is the one who stops me from taking breaks. If life is overwhelming, taking a break is more overwhelming. Because that little mouse in you, starts thinking of all the work you have to put aside when taking the break, all the plans you’ll need to cancel. The break itself, is exhausting.
Anxiety makes me think everyone is always looking at me, and it takes a lot of effort, every day, to tell the mouse that other people have their lives to focus on, and it's not about you.
I tell myself that every day, but the mouse never goes away.