Content Warning: Description of anxiety symptoms, mention of eating disorders, and bullying.
I hope I am out of the box. I have been in and out of it countless times, but it always seems to want me back, and I accept its offer without hesitation. Meditations’ 16th game was developed by Zk’ and is about anxiety putting you in a box that it seems impossible to get out of. You play as a small bird in a box, who hits its head on it several times before breaking free.
In the description for the game, one that I find extremely important, Zk states,
“Struggling with anxiety is like having a concrete box around you at all times. Although you know it’s not the right thing to do, you [instinctively] lock yourself in this “safe haven” with fear of others judgment. The world around you becomes distorted. Every joyful laugh becomes a knife thrusting into your gut. People who don’t understand this problem can misconstrue your behavior as apathetic and rude, severing even the strongest of relationships and further impacting your mental health. Depending on how advanced the issue is, getting yourself free from this box can seem impossible, but it’s not. Please seek help when dealing with this, you’re not alone!”-Zk’
I was in this box during my freshman year of high school, and for most of my senior year as well. The anxiety box is a rough one. When you are dealing with problems, you don’t want to deal with more, so instead of tackling your issues, you crawl in bed and sleep your day away so nothing even has the chance to make your day worse. This was my life in freshman year, where I developed anxiety attacks after facing years of comments about my weight. I was called anorexic every day, and it started making me believe it, as well as hate my body, and hate that I have to deal with IBS.
During this time, I would attend school, constantly think about my weight, and constantly deal with a certain piece of trash calling me anorexic. I knew why I was thin, I have been dealing with IBS since I was four and had to get my weight checked frequently to make sure that I would not develop more health problems, but every time I heard him call me anorexic a part of me would die. When school was over I would feel sick, crawl in bed, and think about all of my problems without saying a word.
I did not want to cause any problems by announcing my newly developed anxiety issues. My body was taken over by a sensation of pins and needles from head to toe, and I stayed silent and let it overcome me. One afternoon I broke, and finally screamed about my problems at my family, letting them know what I was going through, and that gave me the courage to finally do something about my anxiety.
I got out of the box and faced the demon causing my problems. Since then, he has changed his ways and we actually ended up being friends (If you are reading this sorry about the piece of trash thing, but you were pretty bad!). My freshman year of anxiety will be one that will always be engraved in my memories, as it was the first time I felt anxiety, a feeling that would get extremely common later in life.
Zk’s game portrayed anxiety’s box in an incredible way. The bird tries to exit the box, hits its head, loses its color, and tries again until finally getting out of it. This is how it felt for me when I would always go to school wanting to finally put an end to my anxiety, but never getting the courage to talk to the person causing it. I would always make myself feel weak by not facing him, and feeling weak made me have even less courage to try to get out of the box.
Once you are out of the box, the bird falls endlessly while seeing multiple other birds trapped in their own boxes. For me, this represented the feeling that you get after getting out of a time of bad anxiety for the first time. You know how it feels now, and you see that people around you are suffering through it as well. It is a sad feeling, but you know that you are not alone now, and you know how you can support the people around you.
While we are talking about anxiety, this also seems like a great time to talk about 2017, when I put myself in a box yet again. During this time, I was dealing with the loss of my friend, and the worst IBS flare-up I have ever faced. One that would lead me to nights of feeling like I was dying, doctor visits every other week, losing one-eleventh of my weight, and six months of bleeding, pain, and anxiety.
2017 was already a tough year mentally due to grief, but this made everything much worse. I was dealing with medical issues that I wasn’t comfortable talking about, so when I had to leave school for the thirtieth time for the same reason and thought that something much worse could be happening to me, all I could do was look at my peers in the room with painful and tearful eyes as I put myself in the box.
Nobody knew about my grieving for months, and nobody knew about the extent of my medical issues until the next year, when I finally got the courage to talk about them and how scary it was to have nights where I thought the rupture of my colon was just seconds away from reality. Every day of smiling at my best friend and saying everything was okay brought even more pain to me as I knew that might not be true.
Life was awful, having an issue I have had control of for 14 years coming back with a vengeance was annoying, and I felt really sad and unlucky to have to live with this syndrome. Then I remembered getting out of my box the first time, and realizing that everyone has their issues, mine just happened to be heckin’ disgusting. Telling everybody about my time of sickness, hate, and anxiety was a nice experience. Now I am not afraid of talking about them and have since embraced who I am, my problems, and my mental health. That’s pretty much what this Meditation Games Diary is about. It is about opening myself up and being vulnerable in hopes that someone can relate or that I can make their day better.
Get help if you are having issues, and don’t handle mental health like I do. I make bad decisions. Please get help. You can get through this, and you can play as a bird trying to get out of the anxiety box on 1/16/20, so you should do that. Zk’ made something special and created a piece of art that just made me tell everyone about my history with anxiety. So that’s pretty cool!