It’s been many years since I’ve opened my eyes to anxiety, so when it happened today, I had flashbacks, but not of anything in particular. Only of the sensation itself and how often it used to occur. Daily wouldn’t be an exaggeration.

It was never enough to keep me frozen in place, just enough to keep me on edge without being able to articulate a valid reason, sort of like the coffee dregs of PTSD.

Waking up with it left me feeling confused, so I replayed my week, my previous evening, the day and week I’d planned ahead. Everything seemed stable, according to my standards, so still, I was baffled and tried to return to sleep, to convince my physiology that it was reacting to something not present.

But I couldn’t return to sleep, and my body felt the need to counter me, to assert that it was reacting to something very present, but unseen. So I got up to shower and walk through the routines of the day. The day has progressed without incident, the feeling has passed, and now I am calm.

What remains is a yearning, an urge, a deep desire to console someone not here. I do that in my heart, in my sleep and sometimes, in my writing. Sometimes all of those things never seem enough, and they aren’t.

A woman was talking to me, complaining about her husband and her children not too long ago. She was in that place we all get to sometimes when we’ve taken on too much and think it’s those things we’ve taken on that are causing us problems when really, we need to let go of the idea that our shoulders are immovable by the weights we place on them.

Just because we can lift two hundred fifty pounds doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. So the woman’s mother is flying in from another country to help her, and I suspect her outlook on her family will change and be more positive. This is my hope.

To many of us, myself included, we wait until we’re injured, to ask for assistance. She looked at me at one point and pointed to my shoulders, and said my weight must be greater than hers. Then she asked if I was dating.

I laughed because I know that her idea of a savior is not the same as mine. I don’t date because I’m in love, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it makes perfect sense to me. I also don’t lock my arms when I lift the weight bar, nor do I lock my heart when I bring it down and ask for His help to lift it. Again and again.

The only injury I’ve ever suffered was pride, in thinking or believing I’ve ever lifted anything alone. The belt that upholds our posture is beneath our clothes, and sometimes we only need to adjust it, to remember it’s always there.

The sense of drowning in responsibility escapes no one; not children, not women and especially not men. Weight need not be our suffocator when we can choose that it teach us to dance in the grace of struggle.

If we can’t be the spotter for those we love, we can help them tighten the buckle when they can’t tighten it for themselves or loosen it, when they forget they were created to be stretched.