To the point, I struggle with severe anxiety, social anxiety and a mood disorder or more mildly, a mood fluctuation. I have self diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, something I am wary to say given the haste in finding labels and conditions to suit our problems in this day and age, with WebMD a click away. I also use the term Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with caution, out of respect for the people who live with OCD and Bipolar, battling each day with medication, behavioral therapy and whatever helps them get by.
But I would be lying if I said I haven’t struggled with severe anxiety, or have been symptomatic of the same, from as far back as I can remember. Puking every morning before going to class, while in Primary School, from daily panic attacks, trapped in my cubicle in high school unable to step out before completing a very particular routine, washing my hands seven times each time, right hand over left hand, water at an an angle on my wrist down to my fingers, one mistake and I would have to start again, having to turn the tap a particular way, wipe my hands, touch the door handle and light switch with a clothe, all in a very meticulous design. One mis-step and the process starts again. Unable to sleep until the process is perfectly executed. Oh many times I had repeat the process. I use this word with compassion, it is crippling. The worst part being that no one around understands you and what it feels like, observing you with a curious eye, even you don’t understand what is happening.
I come home each day, with the need to be alone. I find my family ready to talk, waiting to be updated on my goings on, eager to share their day with me. And all I can think is I want be alone. Not out of hate, impatience or rudeness, but simply because I feel naked, bare, and without my moment of peace and silence, I shall forever be nude. Solitude. And so I stick it out, forcing a smile, feigning interest, lest I seem insensitive, all towards restoring my families hope in my normalcy. Praying, for it all to end. That I may go to my room, crawl into a corner, and feel peace, freedom, a deep breathe in, and by some magic, ecstasy as a euphoric wave of life takes over.
The problem with anxiety is the insane confusion it causes, on the simplest of things, “should I take the left road or the right?”, “What if I carry my hoodie and end up not needing it, what if don’t and it gets cold?” “should I wear the left sock first or the right?”, “yesterday I wore the right first and failed to submit my work in time so today, the left” Silly right?
It spreads to more important things in life, affecting relationships with lovers, friends and family. I wish I could control my anxiety. My mind spins out of control, with the worst of it manifesting with an incessant hum in my mind like the sound of an engine running. Tears stroll down my chicks for no other reason than that the pressure in my brain is too much and all I can do to decompress is cry.
It has gotten worse lately. I can barely focus at work, carry out basic duties. Thankfully this has been a slow week, not much coming my way. A most welcome favour from the gods. I worry constantly, even something that used to come so naturally to me, writing, has become a chore. It is my one outlet and yet I seem to be losing it too. What more do I have? What else am I supposed to do? Where else am I supposed to go if my safe haven, my hallowed ground is no more?
I cannot compose the words to best describe how I feel. I put pen to paper in the hope that my mind open shall open up. For I need this, I need to write, I have to. If I am to wake up tomorrow without an aching throbbing heart. If I am to go to bed tonight and not wake up feeling scared, lost and confused wondering how I ended up in the situation I am in. Shatter by Lost Love. I shall find the strength to write about that soon, God knows I need to, for my own sanity.
For any would be reader, any kindred spirit, Hang in there. Let your clarion call every morning be, “today, I shall make it through.” Say it out loud, believe it, own it. And the next day and the next. And every night you say to yourself, I tried. That is all you need. Having the strength to get through the day, amidst all the noise and calamity in your mind, body and spirit, for anxiety imprisons all three, with an unsettled spirit or soul if you please, a troubled mind and a restless body with constant shivers and tremors that feel like an electric pulse.
For those like me with an inclination to religion, just remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. May He strengthen you tonight, that you may have a peaceful night, your mind calm and switched off, tomorrow that you thoughts may be structured and clear, that your body may be relaxed, shoulders not hunched in a tense posture. Best believe that I will be right there with you and together, we shall endure.