What’s in a Song: Anxiety (feat. Selena Gomez)

(This is completely unrelated to the rest of my post, but one of my poorly formulated goals is to one day create a song that has somebody like Selena Gomez attached to it. So, if anyone knows how to make this happen, I will gladly take that advice.)

Full disclaimer: there are some swear words in this song. If you’re sensitive to that, feel free to ignore the play button and just read what I have to say, I suppose?

Okay, on to what I actually wanted to talk about with this one. Well, if you’ll look at the time stamp on this post, you’ll know that it’s late, and I should be in bed asleep, and I should be getting plenty of rest, and I should be doing a lot of things. I’d be willing to bet that at some point my mother (or father) will pop her (or his) head in and tell me to go to bed/stop typing so loudly.

(I feel like it’s important to warn you all that this post might seem kind of all over the place and I might sound like I’m rambling at times, so, apologies in advance!)

But instead, I’m sitting at my computer and listening to this song on repeat because there’s something really soothing about knowing that other people might sort of get what I’m thinking and feeling.

Today at 7:30am MST marks the start of preparations for my 15th surgery. This time, it’s “minor.” It’s an outpatient procedure that will remove the titanium mesh plate screwed into my skull from my first brain surgery a year and a half ago and relieve some of the pressure in my head due to fluid build-up. Hopefully, it’ll also put a stop to the constant neck pain I’ve had for months.

So, I know I sound pretty casual about it. It’s “minor.” I get to go home mere hours after my neurosurgeon stitches me back up. Complications are few and far between. The time I’m on the operating table will be less than an hour total. Cool, right? Sounds easy, simple. I even have told people that it’ll be a breeze compared to my other surgeries, and perhaps to a certain extent, it will be.

These facts don’t stop my anxiety from shooting through the roof tonight. They don’t prevent me from spending a sleepless night writing a blog post and watching Netflix and playing my music and scrolling through social media, sort of all at once. The last several days have seen me spread thin, exhausted from the expanse of emotions I’ve felt trapped under.

The song addresses how we feel in these moments, stuck in the time we’re in now. It’s relatable, catchy, and it sticks in our minds because for some of us, we’ve been there. We’re there right now. I know I am. This song tells us that it’s okay to feel, and that our feelings are valid and important. It’s okay to feel trapped in our own heads and stuck in a rut. It’s okay to feel isolated, to feel different. It’s even okay to feel alone, to feel misunderstood, to think that no one will understand.

The amazing thing is, though, if you read the comments by fans and listeners, people do understand, on a fantastically deep and uncannily similar level. Other people do feel these things. We aren’t alone, trapped in our own heads. If nothing else, we don’t live on this earth disconnected, out of touch.

So this is what I want everyone who has ever dealt with anxiety or uncertainty or grief or stress or pain to hear, and especially what I want myself to hear tonight: we survive. When we look back on where we’ve been, we realize that we made it through. Maybe we have more bumps and bruises and scars than we did before, but we’re here, and those marks represent the growth we’ve experienced. Time doesn’t stand still, even though sometimes it may feel that way, so one of these days we’ll look back on this moment, just like all the others. We’ll see these hard times for what they are now, but also what they will be in the future: they’re a part of our pasts, a part of the experiences we have gone through. One day, we’ll look back on this day and know that we rose from this moment stronger, more resilient, more prepared to face the world. It’s really hard to see the other side of the mountain when we’re at the base of it. But that other side exists, it’s there and ready and waiting for us, and we just have to make the trek.

I say “we” because this isn’t a journey we take in isolation. We find those who are ready and willing to accompany us, supporting and encouraging us when anxiety jumps in and incapacitates us, freezing us in place.

So I’m ending this post by saying thank you to my travel buddies, to the people who stick by me even when I’m hard to deal with. My anxiety isn’t solved and eradicated, but it doesn’t mean that I’m stuck struggling with it all on my own. So, thank you to the people in my life who do know what it’s like. And if you’re dealing with these feelings too, find those people. (If you think you don’t have anyone, please message me!)

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