It’s not every day, it’s not every hour, but it is in those crucial moments of my life. It’s not just that cold on the spine before presenting a seminar, not even those rare heart-beat accelerations, it’s a whole set with several variables and intensified two, three, four times as much. With time I discovered that my experience in this world was deteriorated, I don’t enjoy certain moments because I simply can’t see space for pleasure, but only worrying, fear and nervousness. Anxiety, that’s the name. Me, myself and I, the individual both suffering and causing this phenomenon. If only to understand all of this would make a difference to anyone…
“Stop with that already, that’s crazy.” “Relax, breathe, there’s nothing to worry about.” “This happens to everyone.” “I understand.” “You need God in your life.” “This is a problem in your own mind, only you can change that.” Should I stop with what? This is me! I’m calm and breathing. And dear, if it happens to everyone why you’re going crazy like me? Do you understand? Tell me, how can you ask the teacher questions in the middle of the class with the most normality in the world? Catch a bus so easily? And how you understand having to go to the bathroom all the time? No, who needs God is you to learn that to tell this to others does not help at all, while you’re saying all that stuff I heard before, just give me a dollar bill, I’m done with those. Oh don’t you say it’s a problem in my mind! I wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t pointed it out! If you’ve ever told any of these to anyone, believe me, it’s not just fingers-flapping, blinking eyes and BAM! The person begins to live life as normal as you.
Everyone has anxiety, that we can admit. It may be that nervous feeling before a job interview, or that excitement keeping you awake waiting for the next day’s trip, a shivering attacking the body when presenting the most important lecture of your life. But after it happens, everything passes, the feeling ends and your body acts as if it were an everyday event, nothing more than routine. But have you ever felt your whole body telling you otherwise even after everything happened? Does your mind stay on until five in the morning thinking of everything you could’ve done better or just what you will do tomorrow? Attacking the fridge bluntly unnecessarily just because you’re rethinking your entire life? If so, take a time, evaluate your life, talk with a doctor, even if it’s the tiniest strange thing that may have changed in your routine that does not do you any good. If not, go ahead, but stay here with me to understand that not everyone functions just like you, and honestly, if you want to pay a visit to the psychologist/psychiatrist, I recommend, no matter if you have any symptoms or not, those professional might help improve some part of your life.
IT’S ALL IN MY HEAD, YEAH!
It comes to a certain point, at the very beginning we admit (even if we don’t want to) it is all in our heads, it comes from our thoughts. But this is only the first step on recognizing that something is wrong, admitting it is not a cure. We are able to trap our mind in vicious cycles of negative thoughts and at certain times it can disrupt our lives. Is it easy to get out of the loop? Nope. Is it possible? Yes. Just by knowing that it’s possible helps? Absolutely. Does having someone telling you it’s all in your head helps? No, actually, it can make it worse.
Sometimes this insane repetition of “this is in your head” “you have to change your thinking” may lead us to think that hey, if it is taking so long in your perception of my improvement, will I really be able to improve or am only wasting time and my life will never change? I’ve seen myself thinking this over and over again, saying this to a psychologist several times, and sometimes she didn’t even need anyone saying shit to me, just my own thoughts wanting to see results for yesterday.
So, yes, we are the cause of our own anxiety. And this is the first step to perceive our cycles and seek a positive break from them. I say this without even being cured of my own anxiety, because I can and I need to believe that at some point I’ll be back at living my life as normal as it was before or even better.
OK! I’M DONE! I WANT MY PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE FIGURED OUT NOW.
I’ve woke up several mornings thinking “is it today that I don’t feel anything anymore and everything is back to normal?”, I can even feel that happy feeling approaching me. But no, it was only a morning’s desire, sometimes it’s a night’s wish, to sleep and wake up as if everything is in the past and hey, look at me, cured, I’ll finally dismiss my psychologist because everything is alright. Dream. Dude, what a dream!
Anxiety shatters my life in tiny little pieces. Nervousness strikes before an important call to ask for internet service in my new home, or simply pushes me into procrastination rather than working everything in the right time. Doing anything at the limit of time, who never? But who always? And sometimes you don’t even want to complete the job and you need a thousand R A T I O N A L S explanations for your boss the next day, because having broken your arm and having a mental disorder are two very different things. So, right, the two of them make me unable at certain times, but hey, breaking an arm is more acceptable! Anxiety is weakness, “you wanted to play around instead of working” … I don’t even have words for this, I hope someday the society improves when it comes to mental disorder, we’re here to make our part.
Just so you have a bit of notion, anxiety can also come through physical symptoms, people can’t breathe, body tremors among others thing I don’t even know. My physical symptom is not among these and I won’t tell you, but believe me, I do not want anyone to have to go through certain situations that I have on this “journey”. We live with a need to know what will happen on the next minute of the day desperately.
How many times have I rehearsed pizza orders before calling? How many times I have begged mentally for people to not think about me to do something? How many times didn’t I just want to wake up, do all I had to do, solve problems of the past, find solutions to earn 10 thousand grand a month in the future and end the day feeling productive even knowing that this was the normal of my day to day? Please! Several times everything works alright just like this, and several times it does not. And that’s how it may seem to you that we have no anxiety at all and we’re only acting as a victim.
But trust me, we can get better, not at the speed that I or you want, nor is it consistently much less constant, getting better takes time and improvement, and it definitely does not happen all at once. We learn to know ourselves, to understand our cycles and thus, to discover how we can improve or fool the body we live in. It’s like hacking ourselves. It’s good? It may be, it may even be the solution, but it can be worse. We learn what works or what is a temporary solution. We understand ourselves. We learn to take small risks, hoping that in the attempt to succeed, it will become normal and stop being one of the problems. My psychologist told me it’s an experiment, for my body felt like a fucking risk. But I survived and intend to keep on risking more and more.
WHERE’S THAT SHOULDER FOR ME TO CRY ON
I’ve discovered that it’s not easy to get others to understand or try at least. I don’t even understand why my mother pays my psychologist if she discredits her work several times or say stuff about me that she knows very well to be connected to my anxiety, as if it were something non-existent. A lot of my relatives have told me it’s all in my head and I’m sure when they do that there’s an expectation for me to be cured the next day.
It’s rare to find ANYONE who’ll say “wow, it’s not possible to enjoy a trip like that”, but you will find that person, hell yea! It could be an aunt, a best friend, college classmate. I’ve found more than one! My psychologist? It took time to develop trust, a confidence in her, but over time and random chit chat (no, those paid visits don’t have to be just about your particular problem) I already feel the urge to throw my insecurities at her all the time.
I’m going to be real clear here: I’m not the best on friendship stuff, I don’t know how to show interest or respond to their interest. I do care, I really do! I’m not asking “how are you” all the time because even for me it’s a pain being asked that every day. And that’s the thing, I care so much about my friends that I don’t want to bother them with the stupid joke I saw on Twitter and I’d like them to have fun with me, yea, I believe that me wanting to make my friend laugh can be a nuisance to him. But yes, it is possible to find someone who listens to small moments of outbreaks or happiness for having managed to progress 1/9 step ahead on your treatment. She was already my long time best friend, but hey, if you still insisted on being in the life of your anxious friend after this whole mental disorder thing, dude, congratulations! We are very happy about your existence!
And I’m going to just leave this here for you who’s trying to figuring out how to deal with in college or at work: you can find another shoulder to lean on in those places and I advise you to really look for those people, it’s going to be necessary. In the first group work that I had right after my anxiety attacked me with everything, I told EVERYTHING that was happening those past days to my college friends, it was necessary for them to be aware so that together we could find solutions to my problems for the time of the presentations and that it was not simply an imposition like, “hey I’m the leader of this group and I decide how the whole fucking thing is going to work”. It’s doesn’t work like this. Talk, discuss, explain, be open and listen. If you managed to be one of those wonderful friends who helped the other one, man, congratulations! We are all very happy about your existence!
OH MY GOD!
I need God, a lot of faith, some ten thousand prayers of a… Joke! This is a place for you to feel free. What do you feel you need? Regardless of your religion, belief, whatever else, as we admit from the beginning, the first step is to know that we are the cause of our affliction.
The only thing that is certain for me is the fact that I can get better. I need to and I believe in that. If you’re in this anxious life like me, believe me, tell me what you noticed improving in your life! If you are a friend of an anxious person, remember that we don’t want you to understand us or offer solutions, but we would appreciate to know you’re here for us for whenever we’re in need, the fear of losing someone like you is a big deal for us, and for all that, congratulations to you for going forward with us in this journey!
With anxiety attacking me creating this blog, I believe the right thing for me to do is to expose this large piece of who I am in the first text. If you want to share something here you would like others to know, feel free! Situations of overcoming anxiety outbreaks or even just having a shoulder to cry on here on the blog, I’m here for you! I hope you enjoyed the post.