I wrote a song. It’s basically about what it’s like to have anxiety. Lots of people I know who experience anxiety have a similar symptom of picking at their skin, hair or nails. For me, you can always tell when I’m stressed out because my cuticles will be in particularly bad shape. When I worked as a freelance reporter, I struggled so much with interviewing sources that I once had to keep my left hand in my pocket for an entire meeting because my thumb was bleeding, and I didn’t want the person to see it.
For me, anxiety feels like literally pulling myself apart, tearing into myself both physically and emotionally with fingernails and teeth. There’s a slow relentlessness about it. It never really goes away. It’s just a constant undercurrent of adrenaline and “what if” and “not good enough.” Art, meditation, therapy, and other coping techniques have helped me learn to float on top of the stream rather than being pulled under. But rough currents happen. Sometimes art gets us through it.