Nights are the hardest. Laying on that hard mattress in the hot summer is not easy when you have a horde of questions looming in your mind. The fatigue from sleep deprivation and the tension from popping pills gets the better of you even if you’re only 25 and supposedly in the prime of your age.
Hi, I’m an anxious person. Oxford dictionary defines Anxiety as a ‘strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen’. Though I would love to have this kind of cool Anxiety, sadly I’m not talking about this one. I’m talking about the feeling that starts at the pit of your stomach and reaches your throat in a fit that you can neither ignore nor decipher. Till the time it reaches your brain, your body has already started preparing you for a danger that isn’t even there, and your heart has started pumping Oxygen to all corners of your body even when there is no need to do so. You can’t catch the ghost which is haunting you, and while you figure out the name of that ghost, your body is trying to become a shadow of its own self. Feel anxious yet?
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety or in clinical terms Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a physiological disorder identified as an actual disease in many countries including the United States. On an average four percent of the world’s population is affected by this ailment making the daily life of the patients a little more painful and awkward than usual. Still, Indian society continues to consider Anxiety a taboo alongside hot topics like beef eating, gay marriage, and speaking against your nation’s undesirable qualities.
In a famous and memorable conversation -well it’s famous for me- I had with my mother, we discussed that in our country nothing is thought to be wrong with a person psychologically until he really becomes mad in a clinical sense. Or in simple terms loses his sh*t. If we as responsible adults treat Anxiety like any other disease and take medicines and preventive measures for it, maybe we can avoid reaching that gruesome stage.
An Anxious Life
My life with Anxiety is a double-edged sword. Neither I can rest, nor can I do anything without a lot of effort. From the time I was quite young, I have enjoyed basking in my laziness every now and then. Now, Anxiety won’t allow me to sit still, and the meds won’t let me do anything but. It’s like there is a war brewing inside me every second. And no matter who wins, I lose.
That’s how I feel every day and every night. That’s what Anxiety is. If ordinary people ate our meds, they’d become more concentrated and focused (don’t try them at home kids, they’re addictive). For anxious people, they just tend to make us a little less awkward and nervous around people. Just enough to fit in the supposedly normal society and not make a fool out of us due to our clumsiness. It’s not pleasant nor is it sad. It is what it is.
I mean I have my moments. I can solve an integration problem -however difficult- in my mind under 30 seconds. I can recite the names of all major and minor Gods of every prominent world religions. Not that it helps me socially or in conversations with girls. Nobody wants to discuss how Sun is not really yellow or how there is no such thing as a black cloud or why electricity is a wonder of nature. It might be cool but not good conversation material. What? What do you mean it’s nerdy?
Living On Meds
Believe me, SSRIs (the medication used for treating anxiety) don’t slow you down. However, that much happiness eventually bores you. At least it does in my case. I have always been a firm believer of pessimism. Just like seeing only the shady side of a scenario is dumb so is looking at the bright side every time. It’s not natural. The world is not perfect, and as such you need to observe and appreciate the imperfections as much as the perfections if you don’t want to be taken down by the cold hard truths of life one fine day. If I relate to the negative side more, that’s just how God made me. My meds, however, don’t allow me to to do that. That’s just torture.
On the plus side, I love when my doctor says I need medicines to slow my brain down. I feel like a superhuman who has an ultra-fast mind. However, I don’t want to be one. I just want to fit in, as do many people like me. We want to relate to you, go out, and tell scary stories by the campfire. We want to be taken seriously in our friend circles and not seen as the shy people sitting in the corner. That is not possible until people around us realise that part of what we have to offer may come from a disease, but that doesn’t define us.
Walk in Our Shoes
Reach us at our home because we won’t get out of our beds. Anxiety is widely believed to be an introvert disease. Though it could happen to an extrovert personality also, the likelihood of an introvert having Anxiety is quite high simply because we are built that way. Thinking more than what is needed, overindulging in fictional scenarios that literally won’t happen, and worrying about problems that haven’t even surfaced yet are the favourite past time of us introverts.
For me personally, the only semblance of peace is talking to my loved ones and writing. I don’t write because I’m good at it or anything -far from it- but because I have no other choice. I don’t like talking about my life problems with people who just want to listen to them out of some misplaced notion of curiosity. Instead, I discuss them with the only faithful companion I have had till date: my empty sheet of paper. Through our art, we anxious people can get our constant worries out of us and in return get something productive done.
This is how us anxious people feel day in day out. So if you think your life is hard, imagine walking in our trembling shoes and sweaty clothes. Ciao.