I've snuggled up with my laptop all day, diving into a mountain of work while my anxiety lurks on the other end of the couch.
For a long time I thought we were the same person - that her constant nagging to Just Keep Moving was part of what made me who I am - someone who has a hard time sitting still, who gets things done, and doesn't let an email go unanswered.
Except I wasn't always this way.
I remember times not so long ago when I would sit and read books for hours on Sundays, watching the snow fall. I would snooze on the couch at my parents' house, or snore while my husband played video games all day.
She was quieter then.
Some circumstances unfolded in my life that gave her a better hold, moved her closer to the inner circles of my mind, and eventually handed her the keys and the steering wheel.
She drives fast, in a state of near panic, trying to outrun the things that scare me. Like aging, infertility, death.
Her keen sense of smell is better than mine - she does a fantastic job of scaring off would-be suitors by any means necessary, because the last one got too close and singed and amputated more nerves than I would have thought survivable.
She's been trying to protect me.
She did her best, but she's unskilled.
And I don't need her help anymore.
I've spent fourteen months uncurling her fingers from the steering wheel, placing her at arm's length, at the other end of the couch. Sometimes she's like a puppy, trying to crawl back into my lap for attention and affection, and I have to lovingly pick her up and relocate her, encouraging her to Stay for a few more minutes.
Sometimes she gets ahold of my phone and sends frantic texts, which is embarrassing, but it's happening less often.
She's getting better.
Because I'm getting better. I have to dedicate myself to it every single day. Remind myself that the tiger in my mind has only as much control as I give it. That it is a ghost of a tiger that used to be - a tiger I used to be.
And that her services are no longer required.