I read this statement around six years ago. The time I read this, it was hell. No definition can describe what a person with anxiety goes through. Words cannot describe it because a person going through it cannot explain it either. It is like a fear of everything kicks in; your brain, mind, and soul do not function on the same level.
Your brain cannot comprehend what is happening surrounding you, your heart rate increases, the room temperature can be cold as Siberia, and yet you will start sweating. You cannot utter any words to explain what you are going through because you are practically in fear and shock at the same time as what is happening to yourself. Your anxiousness and uneasiness of a situation is compounded time after time until it magically disappears in a short period or you accept that you need to do something about this situation.
What causes anxiety?
I feel this is a very debatable topic because no two people ever have the same reason. Some people have anxiety but don’t know that there is a term to define it. Anxiety is not a switch that someone turns on that goes into an “active” state. It is a condition built up over time due to stress, depression, bad incidents, childhood trauma, death, etc. We still live in a world where mental health is not considered an actual condition but is instead seen as an esoteric object.
I can speak for myself and am pretty open about it because the trigger factor no longer exists. Having a rough childhood is not something someone shares on an online platform, and I recommend not to. But if me writing this gives even a single person a hope that there is nothing wrong with them, it would be worth it.
The reason for my anxiety was my father. He used to come home yelling and shouting and bringing home his outside feuds and problems. My sister and I were the outlets of this anger. My sister ran into her bedroom and shut the door. I was the absorber. And for him, it was an everyday thing. Parent of the year, huh? My mom couldn’t say much as she wanted to maintain peace in the house. So she let it happen. I mean, what could she do? I don’t blame her. I was a child.
The mental trauma kept on building, and I started becoming agitated and developing into an angry teenager. A similar story continued in undergrad. I failed two courses in my second year, and the burden of taking them over, home problems and dog problems. When I say dog problems, It is not a problem. I was taking care of (In a way fostering) more than 17 dogs. 4 were in my housing complex, a female dog had given birth to 9 more puppies. And where I went to study, there were more than 13-15 dogs I fed daily. Yeah, I spent most of the money I made on dogs—no shame or regrets.
The puppies were well fed and had an excellent place to sleep. One day when I was at college, a mad dog came in and killed 4 of them. I was shocked and traumatized by that event. I stopped eating and sleeping. Even if a small puppy made a noise in the middle of the night, I would grab my baseball bat and would run out of my house to where they slept. Along with me, I had my dog as a cover all the time. I can tell you about him that he was a human in a dog’s body. He was one hell of a fighter. He would die for me in battle, and so will I. But he was a child, if I locked the door before he accompanied me with my baseball bat, he would get uneasy and start howling, and that would wake up my mom, and I did not want that. So he always came with me.
A few days later, I started attending college again, and the mad dog came and killed four more of the dogs. For a long time, I blamed no one but myself for being responsible for the deaths of those eight puppies. It was my job and responsibility to look after them. They trusted me to safeguard them, and I let them down. I was afraid, fearful, and ashamed in my own eyes for not protecting my pack—all for one and one for all. The incident disturbed me and was the tipping point of my anxiety trigger after the constant yelling of my father and the stress at undergrad.
But this was not the time to mourn and shed tears. There was enough time for that later. I knew the dog would come to kill the last one again and this time, I would be ready. And that he did; it was 2 am, and the female dog yelled and gave out a cry. The female dog did that whenever in need of help. This time my neighbor, who is two years older than me, was also pissed. We both ran out with our baseball bats, and we beat it outside the complex.
But this was not it; even though it would not return, I wanted to kill it. Yes, I wanted to kill something I loved the most. The perpetrator was shivering in the dark, and my neighbor swung the bat wide open on his skull.
Only for me to stop my neighbor before he finished the deed, the dog, however evil and mental it might be, is still a dog. We don’t know why he killed the rest of the puppies, but if we kill it right here and now, how are we different from it? My neighbor was angry that I let him go. That day I taught myself compassion and empathy.
You need to let go and forgive yourself. You need to stop holding yourself back for the things in the past you cannot change. Yes, bad things will happen to you. It happens to everyone, and life is not fair. But since it is not fair to everyone is what makes it fair.
I spent more than a year going through anxiety attacks. I even had countless attacks while writing my finals and had no answers when the invigilator asked me why I was sweating while sitting right below the fan.
A year later, I left home. And my attacks stopped. I had a call with my mom a couple of months later, and I heard dad yelling in the background, and I had a minor attack. I told my mom, and she said, “oh no.” I feel sad that my father, a doctor, never knew what anxiety was, or my mom knew everything about it never truly accepted it. Things would have been very different if they did.
Would I change anything now? No. Whatever had to happen has happened. You can only look forward. Always forward, never back.
I tried it all, meditation, yoga, soothing music, meds. Meds were the worst. Valium elevated my heartbeat and made me sleep for 18 hours straight. I stopped it right away. The only way I got rid of it is by getting rid of the reason causing it.
So I repeat it, there is no single way to resolve your anxiety disorder correctly. It takes time and patience. Moreover, you need to figure out the reason that is causing the anxiety. The only person who can truly help you is you. This is the fight that you need to fight alone.
“If there is no enemy from within, the enemy outside can do no harm.”