The Anxious Ones

To Whomsoever It May Concern,

Hi there! How are you doing today? Wait, don’t answer that. I should know better than to ask that question. First let me introduce myself. I’m a 26-year-old girl, who has recently quit her job and has just returned from an exciting trip abroad. I have few great friends, a supportive family and a plethora of career options to choose from. I’m mostly a happy person, quiet and reserved but a completely different version of the same when I’m with my close people. The moment I hear music I break into a dance. I laugh really loudly and I have absolutely no control over my facial expressions. Now here is the part that I want to really introduce to the world. I recently discovered that I was suffering with anxiety. Like most people, I drew a blank when I found out. And like most families I was told to ‘snap out of it’, after all I’ve not really had anything seriously bad happen to me for me to have anxiety. What could I be ‘anxious’ about?

Here is the deal. I don’t know. I don’t know myself why I suffer from anxiety. I don’t know the root cause, and I don’t know how to deal with it. And being asked all the questions as if I just flipped on a switch just doesn’t help. Now why am I here to tell the world something so personal? Because today was a terrible day. And I realized today, that sometimes when you have your ‘bad days’ no matter how much support you get from your friends and family, you still feel like you are utterly alone. Like a babe in the woods. Literally. Also my research (if you can call it that) says that globally 1 in 13 people suffer from anxiety. So here I am, writing on my ‘bad day’ for anyone else who must be having a bad day. Here’s me saying – hello!

I know you must be feeling like pulling your hair apart because the voices in your head are screaming and they won’t give you a respite for even 2 minutes. I know how infuriating it is when your closest people are looking at you and shrugging it off thinking – these are just new excuses to not deal with responsibilities and problems. I know how you are tearing up every time you are trying to vent to that one lovely friend. I know how you don’t want your family to see you cry not because they’ll think you are weak but because there will be a barrage of questions whose answers you don’t have. I know. The physical repercussions only add to this already long list of issues. But hey! At least them you can see and deal with. These are what your world will call the ‘real’ problems. And I know you can sense that change in their tone when it comes to talking about addressing the elephant in the room, your anxiety. I know it bothers you beyond what you can explain. I know all you want is someone who will listen. And most certainly you don’t want someone who asks you how you are or how your day is going (seriously people, you can see they’re not doing so well, don’t ask!). And there are times when you just want to be left alone. There are also times when you don’t know what you want which is frustrating and just puts you back in the endless cycle of self-loathing, anger and helplessness. I know.

Now here is what you need to know apart from the obvious which is getting professional help. Please, know that you are not alone. This world is far too big for any of us to be alone. So we’re in this shithole together… and not forever. I know you don’t want to be told that you are a fighter, you can do this etc etc. You already know that. You’ve only got anxiety issues; you’re not losing your senses (take note world). So smile, cry, scream… do whatever you need to, to keep your head above the water on this bad day. It will get better, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually it will, if only you let it. For the bad days, you can always try what I’m doing today, smile to the person next to you and say – hello!

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