What does anxiety mean to me?
Anxiety for me, is that moment where I feel caught off guard by something or someone I perceive as a disruption to my routine, which then makes me feel powerless to control the situation and my reaction to it. If overwhelmed by my perceived fear, my immediate reaction is to escape by any means necessary, but if I can’t escape I fall into a meltdown. Oftentimes this occurs when I am on a moving train or a seated passenger in a car, or a work meeting; situations where it would be difficult to manoeuvre out or to find an exit when I’m in the throes of an anxiety attack. My safety net has often been to find a toilet so that I can calm myself down, but when this is not accessible, this too can exacerbate my panic.
If this occurs enough times in a day or a week, I slip into a comfortable state of depression. I say a comfortable state of depression because compared to the extent of my anxiety attacks, depression is easy. I can stay in my bedroom, pull the duvet over my head and just be miserable, rather than face the world of ‘what ifs?’ What if my train doesn’t arrive on time? What if I get on the train and a rush of people come in and I panic and can’t access the toilet? The list of questions goes on and would rapidly be succeeded by a tyranny of negative statements, which circulate continuously on a repeated time loop. Leaving the house is no small feat.
Recovery back to a functional human being has been a long road and the healing process is still ongoing, but I am happy to say that I am better able to manage my life and I now see my struggles and internal suffering as a blessing in disguise – not something I ever would have said a few years back. I now see it as a friend who alerts me to my inner narrative. What thoughts lead me to believe that I have something to fear from this situation or individual? I would be lying if I said that I can handle every moment I fall prey to the anxiety goblin, but I am able to function in a dysfunctional society. It’s really quite simple how this happened for me – I began to write poetry.
Written by Imojinn