Tag Archive | Anxiety

The fog is rolling in, the battle rages on


The fog is rolling in.

I sense before I see,

the clouded mist

that comes again –

coming again for me.

Wispy tendrils

whorl round my feet,

readying for war.

Creeping, crawling,

reaching, searching,

finding me once more.

I’ve naught but gossamer veil

to hide myself beneath,

I’ve no stronger shield,

no bullets, no bow –

I’ve no weapon to unsheath.

But lo, perhaps I do –

I’ve words at my command.

With parchment as my coffer

and quill within my hand,

an army lays in wait,

for me to take my stand.

Whispered words

become my battle cry,

they cover me like armor,

they give me wings to fly.

As the battle rages,

the fog is failing, falling –

raining down in pages,

scattered in defeat.

I lift my veil,

and watch

as the

vanquished fog


Crystal R. Cook

Pay the toll or ride once more . . .


Here we go again.

The world’s begun to spin,

round and round

and round it goes,

and here we go again.


The carousel

appeared before me,

filling me with fright.

I think . . . I thought

I know . . . I knew,





A phantasmic carnie asked,

“Do want a ride?”

I never met his gaze

though I’m certain I declined,

but he lifted me,

and without warning

I was spinning, spinning,


under his control,

and when the ride

came to an end,

he held out

his gnarled hand,

demanding to have his toll.


Inside my head

I continued to spin

I’ve no reason to pay,

I didn’t ask to play,

there’s no payment

I owe to him.


Still he stood,

and asked again,

“Do you want a ride?”

His hollow eyes

stared through me,

and his lips curled

into a twisted

sort of grin.

He said,

“Pay the toll,

or ride once more,

then we’ll talk again.”


I don’t quite know

how many times

I went round and round

and round

before I woke,

but when I did

he stood before me,

and once again

he spoke.


“Pay me what I’m due,

and you may take your leave.”

I found my voice,

and screamed in silence,

“I haven’t anything,

not even a penny

for which to pay.

I don’t know

what it is

you seem to

want from me.

Won’t you please,

just please,

I’m begging you

to turn and go away.”


He threw back his head

with a wicked laugh

and said, “Why should I

be the one to go?

Don’t you know?

It was you – It was you

who came to me.

Silly child, open your eyes,

see what you can see.”


And then I remembered

I’d been given a choice

when anxiety came to call

I could have stood

against it,

I could have fought

with all my might,

but I faltered

and I fell

and I cowered

from the fight.


I opened my eyes

to look upon

what I’d been too

afraid to see.

I steadied my heart,

I stood to my feet,

but when I looked,

there was nothing,.


waited there

for me.

Crystal R. Cook

The Battle Rages On – Constant Warrior




Floundering in the dark

searching for the light

Scattered thoughts disgorge

from a miasmic mind

too burdened to contain them

emotions escape through tears

Unrestrained anxiety

irrational fear

unwarranted consternation

Pounding chest, heaving

threatening to fragment

anticipating failure

and pain

Soul seeking solace

confronts the unseen

stands in trepidation

against enshrouded foe

A weary warrior

voice raised in supplication

beseeching favor through faith

Repudiating the disquietude

emancipating fragile psyche

reclaiming, regaining, reasserting

gathering the detritus

of unconsumed peace

forging it to armor

sheltering beneath

until the storm subsides


Crystal R. Cook

22 days, approx. 6000 pages, & shimmering stars

22 days ago I found myself in a rather anxious state. I was fraught with slivers of sadness and fretful with fits of frustration. I realized I was overwhelmed and so, so tired. Unable to disencumber myself from these loathsome sensitivities, I made a hasty retreat into the safety and security of my little bubble and tried to shield myself from however much of the world I could. It was my intent to settle into a soul soothing solace for a few days, but my melancholy managed itself into a moroseness I found difficult to soothe. Before long, I was floating through each day upon a virtual ocean of apathy.

Reading was my only comfort, so I read page after page, book after book (15 of them), sequestering myself from just about everything – the computer, the phone, the kids, the husband, the laundry . . . I drank coffee and devoured words until one afternoon I finally felt the sun on my skin, heard the birds singing, and sensed a flutter of emotion stir in my heart.

I’m not entirely certain what precipitated the gloomy shadow that tried to swallow me, nothing particularly unpleasant or dreadful occurred, there wasn’t some fantastical event that sent me spiraling downward into the depths of despair. I suppose it was simply life and the living of it. Sometimes we just need a break for a few days, or 22 as the case may be.

The first 18 days were spent doing little else aside from thinking, reading, and avoiding human contact. I interacted as little as possible with everyone. I avoided any and all responsibilities I could possibly avoid. I just wanted to be alone. With my books. I sat on the porch with them from morning till night and then sat with them some more in my room until sleep would come.

Somewhere in the middle of my madness, I received a blessing so lovely I saw stars, literally. I almost ignored the stack of mail the postman delivered, but I noticed the corner of an envelope peeking out between the bills I’d eventually have to deal with and it practically called out to me. I slipped it from the pile and was surprised to find it was hand addressed . . . to me.

When I saw the postmark I couldn’t help but smile. It said Royal Mail and it had traveled a long way to bring me a smile. I opened the envelope carefully, I knew there would be more than lovely words inside, and when I opened the card, the sun twinkled off of the glittering stars that awaited me.

11081130_10204934342771860_7648003811937018469_nIt was the first real smile I’d smiled in a while. Before I could read the letter they adorned, I picked up the other prize that envelope held for me, a hand drawn ampersand. That was when the first tear fell. It was beautiful. One of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received. I stared at it with a mix of awe and thankfulness. I have an affinity for ampersands and my faraway friend took the time to create something so personal for me, I was overcome by the thoughtfulness of it.

More tears fell as I read the words she took the time to sit and write to me. We’ve shared conversations online and in emails, but this was so much more . . . it was real and personal and I could hold it in my hands. There is something so magical about that. So intimate. So real.

The letter from my sweet blog-sister Lizzi was the catalyst that sparked my resolve to pull myself up and find it within myself to take back the control I’d relinquished. I don’t even know how to say thank you for that.

The shadow dissipated on the 19th day and I slowly began to integrate myself back into my family. They welcomed me with open arms, several loads of laundry and a lengthy grocery list. I was tempted to lose myself in another book, but, you can only hide from reality for so long and since they had to fend for themselves for what they seem to think was an eternity, I relented to resuming my duties as wife and mother, caretaker to all.

I did a lot of thinking these past few weeks, I thought of things I was afraid of, things I was thankful for, things that made me sad, and things that made me happy. I thought of the many challenges and hardships in my life and I thought about the many blessings I’ve been bestowed.

I thought quite a bit about my failures, real and perceived, but I also thought about my successes and decided maybe I should give myself credit for them. I’ve been focused on the parts of me that feel weak instead of magnifying the strengths I know, without a doubt, I possess.

I have a lot more thinking to do and many more books to read, but I think I can manage to do those things without shutting myself off from everyone around me . . . I’m keeping my bubble close by though, just in case.

~ My Therapeutic Companions ~


Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children -Ransom Riggs

Hollow Children – Ransom Riggs

A Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

The Essential Neruda, Selected Poems – Pablo Neruda

Room – Emma Donoghue

Farewell Dorothy Parker – Ellen Meister

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire

A Lion Among Men – Gregory Maguire

Out of Oz – Gregory Maguire

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Under the Dome – Stephen King

The Enemy Within

So far today, I’ve nothing new to say. Nothing I can pin down, capture and pen to the page – not yet anyway, so I’m pulling one from the archives, if for no other reason than to remind myself I get through this every time I must face it.

Last night was one of *those nights*, filled with the unwelcome intrusion of anxiety and restlessness that have a way of lingering into a new day.

I’ve put on my armor and risen for battle – I’m certain at some point today, victory will be mine. I’ve fought this fight before . . .

Enemy Within by Crystal R. Cook

Whispers scream
in the dark of night
echoes of fear
not there in the light
When the day comes
it does not surrender
unwelcome companion
constant tormentor
Close your eyes
cover your ears
it’s coming for you
you can’t hide from this fear
It flows through your veins
it robs you of peace
squeezing your heart
as you pray for relief
There is nowhere to run
there is nowhere to hide
there is no escape
from the monster inside
You face it and fight
it tells you your weak
holding for ransom
the comfort you seek
Relentless it strikes
time after time
an insidious fog
filling your mind
An unwilling warrior
in this battle for power
sometimes you stand
sometimes you cower
The battle is private
without allies or help
you are fighting alone
at war with yourself

Crystal R. Cook

Bête Noire

Bête Noire - by Crystal R. Cook

If I knew why the world
sometimes crumbles,
when the earth
neath my feet is sound,

I might forget to fall.

If I could see
the raging storm
was only a summer breeze
of a passing season,

I might not hide at all.

If I was certain
flood waters
were not rising too fast
for me to safely swim,

I might not have to drown.

If I could just believe
the fears I fear
were lies, unfounded,
figments of my mind,

I might keep both feet on the ground.

confounding little voice, whispering in the mind
infinitesimal, insignificant – ultimately powerless . . .


acknowledged, fed –  held close to the heart like mother nestling a babe, wrap it like a cloak, a chrysalis safe and warm, cower within till it torments no more . . .


it’s an illusion, a blanket of lies keeping the light veiled in shadow, growing heavy, heavier in the darkness, suffocating, stealing breath, parasitic thief consuming, devouring reality, regurgitating anxiety, apprehension and despair . . .

   bête noire

undeserving of avowal, recognition, appellation . . . purge, disembogue, cast out, unbaptize, reject, refuse, restrain, dethrone the beast from lofty place to bowels of depths unknown . . .


ascend past heights attainable by intrusive, binding thought, look back and you will fall –

                  spread wings of grace and soar.

~ finis ~

Crystal R. Cook