Anxiety and Me – A Poem

Author : Ross Nichols

17th November 2018

I’d recently become an ‘accidental poet’ by writing two poems that came to me out of the blue one morning. I didn’t so much write them as allow them to emerge – they almost wrote themselves. I shared these poems on an Animas blog post over the summer. A few weeks later I wondered if I could write a poem by choice rather than waiting for inspiration to arise.

I’d become aware that I carry around a discomfort about the future and that this has a name, anxiety, so I thought I’d write about anxiety as a way of exploring what I experience when I’m anxious. I had to work at this poem: it was not ready to emerge near fully formed like the previous ones so it took me a few weeks in short bursts. I learned a lot about myself while writing this poem: how anxiety affects much of my outlook; how I manage it; the coping strategies I use; and what happens when I get out of balance. This gives me confidence that I can explore other issues through poetry.

I’ve joined a local ‘open mic’ poetry club to explore this further. I attended my first meeting just a few days ago and really enjoyed it. I have the feeling that poetry is becoming an important part of my self-expression. I’ll be giving a talk to the Salisbury Coaching Circle next week about how I use poetry in my coaching, mainly poems written by other people. If this is of interest, there is now a group on Animas Connect, ‘Poetry In Coaching’, where I will be sharing more of this learning in due course.

anxiety and me

I look at the clock and my mind boots up,
No drowsy lie in here,
Tension grips my stomach and my mind begins to churn
as anxiety has its way with me

We’re auld acquaintance Anxiety and me,
I’ve known you all my life,
Yet I’ve only recently recognised you
and how I’ve paid the price

Welcome to my world my friend,
All calculations and dread,
I’d love to sleep the whole night through
and wake without you in my head

I’m coping very well with you,
through avoidance and control,
but it only takes one extra task
and I’m in overload

Deadlines hanging over me,
My biggest source of stress
Until I’ve finished all the work
I simply cannot rest

Don’t talk to me about resilience,
I understand the idea,
You try seeing things as they are
When your mind is full of fear

How will my story end?
Is this how I’ll always be?
I’d like to find a way
To live more peacefully

I gather it’s not uncommon
For humans to be this way,
What is it that so drives us?
What holds us in its sway?

Maybe it’s because we’re human
With all our complexity,
What lies beneath this surface?
What is our history?

As I get to know you better
I think that you should know
You’ve been my companion long enough
It’s time for you to go

Will you e’er come back again
and rob me of my ease?
It’s time to let you go my friend
and live my life in peace

If you have any insights,
Pray share them with me do,
Then I can check my learning
And I’ll share back with you

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