When I first saw this drawing by Alex Noriega I probably said something like Holy Shit! It couldn't have been more perfect if he had drawn it just for me. It looks like me, I drink tea alllll day and I am pushing myself out of a deep anxiety rut.
A few yeas ago I went to see a new age therapist while I was working through some childhood issues. It wasn't anxiety based but we did touch on it, since it's such a large part of my life. Agoraphobia is like a scar. You can definitely get better and function normally but there's always a part of your brain that won't forget.. especially if you keep picking at it.
I remember one session she had me sit on the floor with my shoes off and draw on a huge pad of paper with those fat Crayola markers. She would tell me to draw abstract things like where I see myself in 5 years or what would be inside a gift box that I gave to myself. I think I gave myself a ball of glowing light that would give me energy. (I should have given myself a car or a mortgage-free house.)
Most of the things she asked me to draw were simple and didn't require too much thought, until she asked me to draw my anxiety. I remember just sitting there looking at the ceiling trying to visualize what my panic disorder would look like if I could get it down on paper. It was huge, looming, scary. Evil.
I took the purple marker and drew a big giant blob the size of the paper, with a messy, jagged edge. I added horns, to make it more evil. My therapist was asking me about it while I was drawing it and I remember saying that it was just a really, really, big menacing monster. After looking at it for a while I decided to draw on eyes and a mouth, to give it a face. This ended up making me laugh instead of scaring me. My anxiety was adorable! He had googley eyes and a little grin, like he was in on the joke with me. I added little stick arms and legs and that was that. I couldn't believe I had been so afraid of this guy. He was a big scary monster sure, but he was easy to tame.
After that things actually did get easier. When I felt the shadow of panic creeping over me I would picture the monster behind me, tapping me on the shoulder and running away. It still sucked (and sucks) but it would at least make me smile for a moment when I thought I would go out of my mind with panic.
He's been coming back to bother me lately, but instead of worrying about him I think I'll just offer him some tea. I don't think he's going anywhere so we might as well get reacquainted.