#ShrutiSpeaks about how millennials might live with anxiety, unlike the carefree version that is more popular.
So, the brief given to me for writing this piece was that I was a representative of the ‘youth’ and that my voice matters — to talk about issues that I relate to, concerns that are pertinent to me. And that got me thinking as most things do. I have anxiety, so thinking comes a little too naturally to me, you see. Yeah, so I was trying to figure out if I am fit enough to represent the ‘youth’? On most days, you can find me watching vlogs on YouTube while procrastinating on one assignment or the other, and finding any excuse not to go out. So, as I attempt a New Yorker-level think piece, I do want to say that I represent a very niche segment of the Indian ‘youth’ — my hashtags would include privileged, upper caste, Hindu, female, very reliant on digital media, ‘arts’ student et al.
Now I am really tempted to meander off into a completely different topic — I just finished watching a Buzzfeed video on Britney Spears, so talking about the media’s treatment of young female celebrities seems very attractive — but I won’t.
I do want to talk about what it is like to be a perpetually ‘anxious’ young person.
Take this write-up for example. I’ve been procrastinating writing it for ages, partly because I am a serial procrastinator and partly because I’ve been stressed about how it’ll be received. And I have delved off into scenarios that involve Anushka Sharma tweeting me or that I end up deleting Facebook because of hate comments. But you know what? This is minor, I’ve woken up with panic attacks, and struggled with them throughout the day while trying to get through 3-hour lectures, or trying to write a 3000-word paper. Sometimes, my struggles are with simple events like going to eat, or hanging out with a friend.
I’ve written about living with anxiety on a college campus before, yet over time I’ve realised that so many people around me, especially older individuals, live with, and normalise mental illness. ‘Normalise’ in the sense that they consider it a part of themselves, not as a disorder. I am trying to find a balance between the two — considering mental illness as an illness and realising that it will hinder certain aspects of my daily life.
Obviously, not all experiences of mental illness are similar — in India especially, a large part of the population does not recognise mental illness and its effects. Yet, through this piece, I aim to show what’s its like living with mental illness and being your average, Netflix-bingeing millennial (in this line, you can also see how accustomed I’ve become to writing thesis statements).
Living at college, I’ve been through various ups and downs with my anxiety. There are some things I avoid – too much caffeine, skipping lunch and dinner, and getting too overwhelmed. I realised the need to regulate my mental health and get help last year when I had panic disorder — I woke up with panic attacks, and got them throughout the day. The journey hasn’t been a very rosy one, as I live at a college hostel and I’m not able to freely schedule appointments with a therapist. Yet, I also try to ask for help when I need it.
In the coming weeks, I’m trying to be a little healthier — have breakfast, go for a run et al. Usually, I wake up, shower and sprint across campus for my 9 am. This has not had a very good effect on my physical health. I’ll let you guys know how my ‘healthy’ living pans out, and the fate of my Netflix subscription – the friend whose account I was mooching off of didn’t renew her membership.
As I navigate through the trials and tribulations of walking halfway across campus in 40-degree plus weather, trying to save up enough to buy MAC beauty products, I’ll keep you guys posted.
About the author
A committed advocate of mental health, Shruti uses communication as a medium to dispel the myths around mental illness. She is a regular contributor to our posts. When not writing, she can usually be found in her favourite place — her bed. She can also be found eating and reading, at various points across Shiv Nadar University.