On sullen nights, I wonder if I have always been this way, or did anxiety trod along with adolescence and over thinking. This battle with my own self often leaves me baffled and confused.
During my school days, I would sulk, in class and home, alike. Apart from when I was completely engaged in an activity of my liking, I would fight with a feeling that I couldn’t exactly pinpoint. When I would try to approach someone, they would say that I am probably bored. And the obvious reaction would be, juggling activities and forcing myself to ignore it.
For the longest time, I refused to recognize this miserable and lonely feeling that would spring out of nowhere for no apparent cause. I managed to push it to the back of my brain. How could I let it get entangled in my relationships, my well being and everything I cherished? I couldn’t let my inner demons get the better of me. But before I realized, it had become a way of being.
I am to be 20 in a few days, but the feeling has never stopped. And the worst part is, having to keep silent because nobody is going to get it. I can’t just run around saying, “Hey, the feeling came back, mind if we go for a walk or watch a movie maybe?”
It did hamper my relationships; it did affect my self-confidence as my interaction with people diminished. And even when there hardly was a day without feeling anxious and panicking around, I never acknowledged it.
This person that I had turned into – an oversensitive, cynical and miserable self- didn’t let me have a moment of peace. The person I had turned to, was someone who would imprint every harsh remark, disturbing image and incident to mind and ponder over it all day long. I wanted to get along with people, like any other normal person of my age. I have this tendency to be polite even when I burn with rage.
I became the person who would hold on to the pain for too long. Be it crying over a movie, or thinking about a sad phrase from a novel, or the guilt and pain of a breakup. If I don’t have coins in my purse to spare when a beggar goes by, that made me guilty all day long.
Believe me when I say this, over thinking and sentimentality can be disastrous for your sanity. And I felt that I attracted all the negativity of the world. One small upsetting incident and I would lock myself in a room; I would pull out my hair and dig my nails into my skin till the anger faded away. Even now I break out into tears when no one’s watching.
But when I finally decided to acknowledge the feeling, was when I watched my father walk down the dark lane of depression. My father, my epitome of strength had suddenly become this scared and helpless person. At times I would get irritated at him, not because I couldn’t understand him, but because in him I saw my own reflection. There would be this helpless plea in his eyes when he knew what he was doing to himself and the family but, couldn’t do a thing about it. Watching him in that state was like watching my pillar of hope break down before my eyes. After a long and painful struggle, he overcame it. Seeing him now makes me realize that I can snap out of it too.
I realized that to fight it, I would first need to acknowledge it. The worst struggle is the one with your own self. The worst realization is that you are your own opponent. It is crucial to realize it’s your own battle.
But you have to realize you are not that alone. Reach out for your family and friends- the people who care for you. It might be your own battle, but you don’t have to fight it alone. The biggest gift you can give yourself is the hope that you can overpower it. I wouldn’t lie that I am completely over it, but having someone who would understand makes the journey a bit comfortable and easier. Tell yourself that if you are brave enough to face it alone, you are strong enough to overcome it. I am not giving up on myself and neither should you.