ANXIETY ANOMALY - MORE THAN JUST A FEELINGWritten by Manjunath M S, 2nd Sem, G sec, SKIT, Bengaluru
You sit down. You stare at your screen. The cursor blinks. The Anxiety sets in. You think about the people you lost, you worry about your finances, and you say yourself, “Everyone hates me and that I’m an Idiot.” People with certain personality types are more prone to Anxiety.
The First Time
I remember the first time I felt this wave of anxiety come over me. I was sitting in class at the top of the course, and the teacher pointed at me and asked me a question. I was around ten, and I just wanted the floor to swallow me up. All eyes were on me, and they were judging me negatively, laughing at me, and I never felt so alone.
Little did I know that this was just as mild as what I would endure in the coming years! In secondary school, I was fed to the lions. I was the only son to my parents; the shy but happy-go-lucky kid, a bit different, full of energy, a ray of light coming from somewhere, but different. When I started Secondary school, my differences were magnified; they were highlighted, ridiculed, despised.
The bullying started small, coping with how I talked, how I wouldn’t say I liked football. I was awkward, was slim, and short. Finally, I knew I was different, and I was being bullied.
I couldn’t fight back. I said nothing; how could I? They were right. I was not too fond of football; I was spotty and awkward; I agreed with what they were saying to me, so how could I fight back. I lost my voice, strength, and courage, so I just put my head down and took the abuse for years. I wished they had just hit me as the words coming out at me went right into my soul, my heart. Every single word stayed with me; these words were bringing me to my knees.
This was precisely when my anxiety started getting higher, stronger, and more frequent. As I look back and the work I have done on myself, I can now see that my anxiety was social; other people made me anxious. After School, the bullying stopped. Instead, I did even a worse job than the bullies. I crucified myself; I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, I couldn’t walk down the street without getting panic attacks, shops and supermarkets were like a war zone, I felt under attack, ready to run at any given moment.
I couldn’t look at people; I always used to find something to hide my face, no one needed to look at me; I was nothing, a waste of space. Then I made myself involved in books, movies, anime and made sure that no matter what, I would keep myself busy all the time to numb my anxiety. I would get this small glimmer of freedom from the negativity, from the pressure, but this was all false and only lasted for moments.
My Turning Point
The anxiety and pain lasted until one day; I found a group of friends to hang out with. It was never easy to find myself comfortable around them, but gradually it happened. I took my time to be myself and share everything possible with them, and somewhere amid darkness, I found sunshine; I found the happy me.
As I said, this was a turning point. I got help to retain my mind. My confidence grew, I came out, no one disowned me; slowly and slowly, I started to heal inside and start accepting myself, flaws and all. This took time, and to be honest, I am still recovering to this day.
Anxiety is in us all; we need it if someone jumps up behind us and wants to harm us, but when the pressure holds you hostage, unnecessarily, and brings you to your knees, you need a hand to get out of your knees the hole.
My anxiety is not as severe as it was all those years ago, but it is still with me. I do get a slight panic when I give my seminars, presentations in front of my whole class because, for me, it is the judgments I presume people are negatively making of me that causes it. Still, now I can feel the emotions that come up from these thoughts, and instead of following the thought process and letting it take me over, I breathe. I let the ideas flow in and out and feel the uncomfortable feelings. Then the anxiety loses its power and subsidies. It doesn’t get the chance to take me over as my awareness catches it first.
The only advice I can give anyone suffering from anxiety, depression, low self-worth, suicidal thoughts is to please reach out to someone you trust and tell them how you are feeling. You are not alone, you are an exceptional human being with so many gifts, and your life is so important. Ask for help, this is not a weakness but such an unbelievable act of courage to have the strength to ask for a helping hand.
You do not need to go through this alone. There is a lot of help available. Please go and talk to someone, even send an email or a text to someone as a first step - reach out. That is the first step of letting some of the pain inside you go, say yes to the journey of healing, and live your life to the fullest.
"You are not alone, you will overcome this, and you are such a unique and phenomenal person. Your life is going to be amazing."