April 4, 2013 § 11 Comments
The furious rabbit has been rattling its cage today. It is carrying out its usual business of tearing up the inside of my heart, lungs, and stomach. It runs its path of busy, futile escape again and again.
The furious rabbit is my anxiety and I am its helpless pet. I didn’t realize this comparison until a friend admitted his anxiety to me the other day and I said, without thinking first, “Oh yes, I know, it’s the furious rabbit”. As the recognition spread across his face, I realized that this simile had been a secret I didn’t know I was keeping. I had given my demon a face, some fur and some really long ears. The furious rabbit is just an innocent being born from all the goodness in humanity but because it has lived so long trapped inside my body, it has eaten holes in my insides and started gnawing on my system wires, growing too large for its cage and scratching and scrambling for a way out. It senses that it will never be free and this tiny flame of knowledge ignites a fire in its feet. Furious furious rabbit churning me into a storm of fear and paranoia. Settle down you touched fucking creature. Let me sleep and breathe and smile like the others.
And then I went to yoga. As the clover-honey-voiced, tender teacher (really, she was so lovely, I caught myself wanting to knead her into silence like bread or perhaps bake her into a cake) encouraged us to allow space for ourselves, to really feel this moment, to be gentle with ourselves, I could feel the rabbit slowing down and finding a place to burrow outside my chest. The furious rabbit was somewhere else then, in a grassy place where it belonged. I had almost forgotten about it altogether until, at the end of savasana, the yoga-for-angels leader whispered, so gently (she was so soft, her smiles made me feel buttered), “If you have created that tension, and stored it in your body, you can also release it.” What!? She’s right, what does that mean, that makes sense, it is true? The rabbit became its furious self again and my mind was jogging alongside it. Shut up, shut up, I said to myself, just fucking stretch and breathe, don’t start analyzing every comment the sweet-child’s-pose-bouquet makes. Too late. I’ve been chewing on that carrot (yep) since she said it three hours ago, even though the yoga really did help to calm the stupid rabbit down.
One maddening part about anxiety (rabbits multiply so rapidly) is the very knowledge that you have created it, that you have controlled a situation by creating anxiety to deal with your tendency of feeling uncomfortable about things you can’t control, and this all makes you feel even more out of control because you can’t control something that you controlled. That in order to get help with it you would have to admit you are out of control, whatever that hilarious phrase means. You know that somehow you have the power to calm yourself, to stop catastrophizing, to let things fade away with ease like normal people, but this feeling beyond control makes you feel out of control when all you want is control and the more you try to get it, the more slippery it gets until you are tripping on your own feet, driving a crazy bus to your own hell, screaming down a dark slide that never seems to end. See? I hope you only read that once and hustled along anyway.
I clearly can’t sort this out right now and I know you’re probably bored or nervous or thinking about a snack. So, why don’t we go get some crunchy, fresh bite to sate us into staring, and forget about rabbits for now.