The shittiest thing about anxiety disorders is the way they completely obliterate the standard safety measures that are meant to come equipped with the human brain. They make you feel unsafe. And it’s not as if the safety was taken from you. Or stolen maybe. It’s that the safety was never there to begin with. Sometimes it’s a while, maybe decades, before you notice that you didn’t have it, that you weren’t born with it. It’s like being allergic to clothing. Everyone walks around wearing clothes, but right around puberty (or whenever), your body starts to figure its shit out, and suddenly you realize you can’t wear clothes. Your whole self is uncurably allergic to the stuff, and it explains so much, why you shook all the time as a child, why your heart raced, why you hid. And now that you know you weren’t born safe, you have two choices. Either you endure the allergic reaction and spend your life inflamed, sore, scratching, irritated, burned, suffocating, swollen, distracted, miserable, choked, feverish, depressed, destroyed—just as long as you can look like everyone else. Or you go naked. And we all know how being naked feels, how vulnerable it makes you. So your mind does crazy shit to compensate, to scrabble to find anything with which you can cover yourself, any kind of armor you can reach, and it doesn’t matter if the armor is painful, ugly, dirty, rusted, stolen, twisted, full of lies, abusive, hateful, or even punctured with inconvenient holes. At least it’s armor. You don’t dare try to change out of it once you’ve got it. You don’t look for better armor because you can’t risk the loss. So you patch and scrape and tape and pinch together, hold those broken pieces together everywhere you go, until it feels like it’s all you’re doing just to keep the armor from falling apart, your hands full of your own scavenged, pathetic, burned-out halves of dented metal. It’s the only thing you are able to present to a world in which everyone else doesn’t think twice about the fact that they aren’t allergic to a damn pair of pants.