Well, this sucks: My journey with anxiety

Every particle in my body curled into a ball and laid down, unmoving. Tears stayed steady out of my eyes and my thoughts deepened this hole that I don’t even remember digging.

What I felt was laziness morphed into paralyzation. My body went through routine motions but I felt like a corpse – empty, lifeless. My performance at work suffered, I lost interest in my writing. I knew I was a strong woman – a woman who flew across the world and tackled unhappiness, who gave up fighting for what others thought of her – but I couldn’t find her. I retreated to old tendencies and versions of myself, filling quiet with doubt and discouragement and uncertainty.

Night time brought on a whirlwind of negative exploration through every positive part of my existence. My relationship with my boyfriend, which was built on a firm foundation of independence, became an ever consuming vortex of necessity: I needed to be in his physical presence or I’d feel worthless, I needed to be held by him or he’d forget about me. These knowingly untrue thoughts swallowed me and I couldn’t break out. He’s my rock, but I convinced myself he could do better and was actively seeking someone new. I never spoke those falsities out loud and let them lay stagnant, marinating.

A physical ache in my heart – caused by my manifested thoughts – suppressed my appetite. The combination of anxiety and fear pushed forth depression. Or is it the other way around? I eventually confided in some family members (and eventually my boss out of necessity) but was suggested medication, which I took as an insult as I’ve watched someone close to me try to kill themselves with their anti-depressant pills.

I’m still trying to figure out the source of my anxieties, narrowing it down to my financially sparse part-time job and uncertain future paths (combined with the fact that I have been through several rounds of several interviews for several companies and have hit dead ends), but I’m being proactive in my thoughts and actions. I’ve since taken up yoga to free my mind if only for an hour, I confide in boyfriend and am eternally grateful for his patience and understanding, and I ordered about 6 books to learn about the origins of anxiety and how to be at peace with my mind.

“All you have to do is breathe mindfully and recognize the feeling. You recognize the situation and help yourself not be overwhelmed by the negative feeling like fear or anxiety. You are still yourself. It’s like a mother: When the baby is crying, she picks up the baby and she holds the baby tenderly in her arms. Your pain, your anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get relief. And if you continue with your practice of mindfulness and concentration, you understand the roots, the nature of that ill-being, and you know the way to transform it.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

 

I’m face-to-face with an uphill battle, but I’ve recognized its presence and accepted its strengths – my first step to defeating it.

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