So I will be turning 23 soon and as usual, the reflections that come with turning a new age have been occurring. Reflecting on my past year I realised it has possibly been one of the worst years of my life.Nope! Correction. It HAS been the worst year of my life.
So much changed during this year. Most of the change happening within. Guys remember when we were young and our biggest fear was the monster hiding in the closet at night? Now that I am older I realise the monsters are different. Self-doubt, loneliness, regret, anxiety these are my new monsters and these monsters don’t disappear the next day when the sun rises, these monsters move with me. When I wake in the morning, when I go about my day and when I go to sleep at night. These monsters have made me their home.
See I have always had some measure of self-doubt. It has always been my biggest enemy but never as severe as the past six months.Coupled with severe anxiety and other monsters I was a wreck. This resulted in so many confusing thoughts. Whenever I tried to open up no one seemed to care enough to help or they didn’t understand and the one person I thought I could count on at the same time decided I was too positive and was better off alone. So much was happening at once I didn’t know how to deal with it.
“The hardest part always seems to last forever.”
And so I fell into a slump. I’d be up all night worrying about what was going on, scared because I didn’t understand what it was, then I’d sleep for half of the day skipping most of my classes. This became my routine. Eventually, I slowly stopped doing the things I love because I somehow convinced myself that nothing good came out of me. I also began to have panic attacks. Anywhere and everywhere. On the bus, while walking, while eating just anywhere at anytime. Everything just seemed to be going downhill.
“Look on the bright side.”
“See the glass as half full.”
These are things I would constantly tell myself. I thought that maybe if I just kept smiling – trying like hell to be the happy person I wished I was, that if I avoided what was happening to me all together I’d eventually be happy. For a while, this worked but eventually, reality got in the way. Friends disappointed me. I wasn’t doing do well in school. Whenever I tried to get back to doing what I love I’d fail at it. It’s in those moments when things got real, I couldn’t act anymore, I couldn’t help but be my true scared unhappy self. Thinking back. Maybe it was the expectation, the expectation of wanting to be happy, of wanting to get back to my old self so badly, that kept me from ever getting there. Like, the more I tried to will myself out of this slump the more confused I got – to the point where I didn’t recognise myself.
“You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.”
There is a difference between needing help and wanting it. I knew I needed help but I wasn’t sure that I wanted it. I became so comfortable in that little hole I dug for myself. Doing nothing was better than trying at that point and without realising it I was unconsciously feeding the monsters and little by little they found ways to ruin my life.
“When we say things like “People don’t change” it drives scientists crazy. Because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy, matter, it’s always changing. Morphing. Merging. Growing. Dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting them be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing, despite every scientific indication, that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change, that’s up to us. It can feel like death, or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.”
One day I was looking in the mirror, reflecting while looking at my reflection..lol and I noticed how far I lost myself. It was then that I realised that I didn’t want the monsters to control my life. To control my happiness. I decided it was time to open my fingers. To loosen my grip so to say.
Don’t get me wrong the monsters are still there. They just don’t control me anymore or rather I’m learning to deal with them. I also understand a lot of things now. Like that the people around me, my family and friends won’t always be able to help me in the way that I want to be helped. If they don’t understand what I might be going through I try not to take it personally because, in all honesty, they are only human. I am also learning to rely on God more because only he can fully understand what is in my heart.
Despite the pressures from outside, the pressure that we put on ourselves, the pressure to be better than we are, to be better than we think we can be.That type of pressure is the hardest to bare and it will never ever let up if we don’t loosen the grip. It will build and build until it explodes. So I try not to be so hard on myself.
“Eventually the pain will go away, the shock will wear off. And you start to heal yourself. To recover from something you never saw coming.”
I am dedicating this 23rd year to becoming a better version of myself. I know finding my way will be difficult. There is no manual for this, no compass, no map and this sucks so much. Despite there being no manual, I am going to close my eyes, take one day at a time and hope to God I become the best version of myself.
How do you deal with your anxiety? Drop a comment and Feel free to suggest ways on how to deal with these monsters..