What It’s Like To Live With Anxiety And Hemifacial Spasms

Just some things that go in the mind of a person having anxiety. It is subjective, what I went through, but I’m sure many would be able to relate. These questions say a lot. It’s been a long time now facing this. Writing it down really helps. So here it is, some briefing into my life:

1. Have you ever written letters to god, and still, after 6-7 years, they haven’t been answered?
2. Have you ever hoped that a physical disease even as worse as a tumour was better than hemifacial spasms or mental illness that you yourself don’t understand, let alone others?

3. Have you ever took an off from school after attending one or two periods because the only 2 close friends of yours hadn’t come and now you had to sit alone shaking in anxiety?
4. Have you ever, just a minute after the exam has started, planned thousands of times and counted till 5 to stand and ask the teacher if you can give the exam in the medical room?
5. Have you ever written the perfect essay but couldn’t stand up in front of your own classmates when asked to speak the same?
6. Have you ever pretended to become an official prefect without a badge just so you can miss the assembly because you can’t stand still for long?
7. Have you ever shaken at thought of being made to sit on first bench actually any bench apart from the last because that’s where you can see everyone and no one can see you, and on first bench the teacher is too close, might make eye contact or scream without any warning even if at you, but you won’t be able to handle your head shaking involuntarily?
8. Have you ever made peace with the fact that all your school life from class Xth onwards passed away while you used one hand to always hold your head in class?
9. Have you ever been more worried at the thought that you’ll have to go on stage to get the award of being the school topper and what if your head shakes?
10. Have you ever felt bad for how even when your mother asked your teachers to make you perform on stage because you’re talented but you always ran away because it’s hard?
11. Have you ever felt that you are different from others, and while everyone was enjoying their teen life, you were sitting with your head in one hand trying to stop it from shaking while others were laughing at jokes?
12. Have you ever made false excuses when you couldn’t stand still during the national anthem and kept touching your ear to pretend you’re scratching while people behind you say that you have to stand straight?
13. Have you ever been afraid as hell to drink water in front of the class when everything was quiet and the teacher’s random sudden pace of speaking was going up and down?
14. Have you ever been confused about how you’re ‘normal’ while you’re walking and laughing with friends when the situation is not normal, but when you have to sit or stand still and you’re scared of sudden voices startling you that makes you breathless?
15. Have you ever prayed how you are allotted the last seat in an exam, not because you want to cheat but because you’re afraid of being too visible or be the centre of attraction, and you won’t even be able to pick your pen up to write?
16. Have you ever cried in the school washroom because you didn’t want to sit on the first bench?
17. Have you ever been scared of how even after preparing well for an exam you’ll mess up because it’ll be so still in the room, and then in middle, even the invigilator will come and shout ‘if someone has mobile or chits give it to us’ and how you’ll be dead inside for the rest of paper, scared even to ask for an empty sheet?
18. Have you ever felt so irritated even because of your parent’s voices, that you just feel like hitting your own self or moving out from the room instead?
19. Have you ever felt guilty when your parents think you’ll clear the UPSC but the whole year you focused on your mobile notifications and couldn’t concentrate on studies, couldn’t make them proud and even after studying you couldn’t solve the CSAT paper because the examiner called you in front as a seat was empty and you had to go but you didn’t want to because you’re terrified of the front seats?
20. Have you ever felt you’re not being yourself and that it often leads the world to consider you a bitch and arrogant?
21. Have you ever been so positive and committed but the next moment again you could not concentrate on your goals?
22. Have you ever so mean and selfish that even when your parents were shouting, praying, guiding and helping you, you ended up using your phone the whole night?
23. Have you ever felt scared of standing in the balcony because a sudden car honk will startle you and your head will shake again?
24. Have you ever missed important classes at the coaching centre just because you couldn’t even make notes, look up in class, hear the lecture without your head shaking and came home saying you had a headache?
25. Have you ever been that cold that you said a lot to a person, uninstall apps, go to sleep but then just after sleep you reinstall them because it makes you restless that you can’t see their reply or they might disappear?
26. Have you ever been a cold bitch and thought people should still text but when they do you again get irritated? Just have you?
27. Have you ever been scared that no person should ask you for pen, water during the exam because you’re afraid to turn around as your head will shake and you’re even scared of keeping your eyes up?
28. Have you ever been not jealous but dreamt of being like others and not plan from before which seat you’ll sit on but just be normal and carefree?
29. Have you ever woken up at night with a sudden thing and then faced fast heartbeats and palpitations?
30. Have you ever regretted telling these things to anyone because what others have always done is to not understand and instead make a laughing stock out of you?

31. Have you ever felt guilty that how your parents have been giving you every single facility and love and care and still you’re scared of even attending coaching classes because the head will shake?

32. Have you ever felt glad that it’s actually good people are gradually moving away from you after having their dose of fun and entertainment out of your mess because that’s how it should be, better to live with your own shit and not involving others?
33. Have you ever thought God has thought of you as too brave that he gave you so much at just a tender age of 13 which is to last a lifetime?

34. Have you ever wondered but accepted that it is it. This is your life now.

I’ll just leave it at that. This is nothing you know. Just a brief. There is a lot that isn’t even that understood that it may be written down. Many won’t read it till the end because it’s too big, the long post. But yeah, if you can get tired of just reading it, imagine the ones who go through it every day. I just want to say be kind, everyone has their own struggles. I’m not special. Be kind and keep loving. Never judge and never laugh. Amen!

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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