“What are you anxious about?”
This is a question I’m asked all too often, and usually, this is how it goes: I try to explain why I’m feeling this way, other people try to convince me that it’s all in my head, telling me “just don’t think about it” like it’s as simple as that. And I simply… nod and pretend to agree.
It’s come to a point where I’ve stopped telling people I’m feeling anxious altogether, and resorted to saying that I’m not feeling well—it’s just a lot easier that way.
What’s Wrong With Me?
I first found out about my anxiety 3 years ago. I was constantly on edge. There would be many times throughout the day when I’d feel like I couldn’t breathe. My own thoughts and worries would just keep coming and I just couldn’t shut off my brain.
Beyond that, it felt like I was constantly waiting—always waiting for the anxiety to pass.
What was wrong with me?
Wanting to make sense of this, I went to see the doctor. What started as one visit turned into a lot more. The doctors visits grew more and more frequent, and being a student, this burned a hole in my pocket. The doctors would offer vague diagnoses, saying its stomach flu, or some virus and they would “fix” me symptomatically. That only worked till the course of the medication was completed. After that, I was back to square one.
The 4th doctor I saw finally prescribed me anxiety meds. It was a gamble on his part because, at the time, he wasn’t sure if I had anxiety. I was just glad for another explanation for the way I was feeling.
That night, I took the medicine and it felt like the blizzard in my belly had blown through, and it was clear skies again. No more unpredictable waves of nerves. No more sinking feeling in my stomach with no explanation. I went on feeling this way… until the anxiety returned.
My body had gotten used to the drugs and the anxiety had found its way back to me.
Feeling like a prisoner in my own mind, I constantly told myself it was going to be okay. I told myself I would get through this. There was a time when I too, thought it was as easy as chucking negative, worrying thoughts to the back of my mind. I’ve tried that, but it simply doesn’t work—it never has.
Anxiety doesn’t heed the advice of logic. No matter how much I tell myself to keep positive or calm, my anxiety overshadows it, and I hear nothing else.
Living With Anxiety
Living with anxiety is exhausting—both mentally and physically. I was going through the motions day in and day out. Even with all the concessions and exceptions my friends and family made for me, it felt like they all turned into crutches for me. While it helps at first, in the long run, it’s no remedy.
Often, I’ve found myself wondering what it’s like to not feel this way. We’ve all felt free before; relaxed. That feeling of having no worries, no stress in the world. Clutching onto that memory, I always think back, trying to remember what that felt like, wishing I could go back to that.
I look at the people around me, at the way they seem to be able to deal with life and its demands so much better, and it frustrates me that I can’t do the same. When others are stressed or nervous, they’re able to rein their feelings in. They can control how they feel and prevent it from getting in their way. That’s something I can’t seem to do no matter how hard I try. My emotions always get the better of me.
Slightly Broken And It’s Okay
These days, I cope better. I still have my bad days, but I also have plenty of good ones. I’ve come up with a couple of tricks to keep my anxiety under control. Guided meditations are my go-to and have now become a routine. I’m surrounded by people who care about me, and while they may not fully understand what I’m experiencing, I can see the many ways they try. Even though I’ve been cursed with this problem, many blessings have come forth from it.
Despite feeling slightly broken, I think I’ll do okay.