One thing you can always count on in terms of anxiety, is it pointing it’s icky finger at you and with a sly smile, tell you it’s you. It’s all you. All of it is because of you. And for that, I can just tell you, you’ll begin to believe it.
Little by little, it rattles you to the core, and soon enough, it’s all you ever know. Everything is seen as a mission, a prolonged failure - the impossible. I couldn’t exactly tell you what it feels like; I could describe it; I could pull up the ‘symptoms’ countless health organizations can diagnose you with; I could hope that you could understand. Nonetheless, I know that I am not the only one who feels this - who’s become this.
Here’s to you.
It took the breakdown to come to terms that I was indeed broken. Most would wrongfully associate this with negative connotation, as if broken insisted ‘beyond repair,’the new incorrigible. Though that is what it feels like, I ask that you don’t. Instead, I ask that you view this term for what it is, fragmented - a state of ‘in pieces’ along with its barriers, but most significantly, one that can be whole again.
It takes a lot of mental practice. Anxiety is exhausting, it drains your energy, consumes your nerves, and inevitably subdues one to their persistent fears. I began to not only drive myself crazy, but tired. Going through anxiety alone is also the #1 way to feel insane. One moment you’re fine, the next, you feel as if your chest is going to close in on itself.
For years, I closed myself off to the world in hopes of dealing with my issues so that others wouldn’t know my flaws. I was trying so hard to present myself as this “put together” person, that I began to fall apart at a faster pace. It took the breakdown to realize I could not begin to get better on my own. I had to reach out, and trust that it would be worth it. That alone, was the hardest thing to do - not only did I have to come to terms myself that I need help, I had to let others know I needed it too. Essentially, emphasizing on my fears and terrifying my fragile ego. But I was tired of upholding this image, these crushing expectations of who I had to be or what I had to do in order to satisfy some sort of facade (and even that, wasn’t enough.)
In an attempt to reach out, I first went to my closest loved ones: from telling my best friend to telling my parents that this is what I am going through. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy. Even the closest people to me had no idea of what circled around in my mind, nor the severity of it. To fully open up, and say the words: I need help - alone almost made me crumble under the pressure. Almost.
After a few tearful conversations, I made the decision to reach even further. I sought help from a therapist. Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely hesitant at first. Mostly, because of the pretty negative view on therapy - and what others (besides my closest family) would think. But I understood what it could mean to me, which is what I needed to make a priority - my growth.
My first session was the most nerve wracking meeting I’ve ever attended. Before even entering the room, I felt my nerves jumble around and my hands started shaking in known rhythm. The room was still, and I could tell my therapist effortlessly made the room a safe space, just by the Buddha in the corner and the smell of tea tree hence the diffuser on the table.
Before even opening my mouth, I remember being asked “How do you feel?” And for the first time, I didn’t even have an answer for it. I could easily rant on what felt wrong because that’s all that ever went around in my head. I can’t do this. I won’t make it. I’m not made for this. But I’ve only ever told that to myself, now I was faced with voicing that to someone else. And for a split second, my mind went blank. In that moment, I felt everything and nothing at once. But before I could stop myself, I began rambling honestly about everything I’ve held in for years. And for the first time, I didn’t even stop myself.
It was at my breaking point, that I finally faced what I was suppressing for so long. It was here that I figured out that in order for it to get better, I had to step out of myself and look from the outside in. I knew I couldn’t continue facing it myself without deteriorating. It was here that I actually began to feel and believe that it can get better. It was only a matter of reaching out, while knowing I had nothing more to lose.
Even after months of sessions, and trial and error, I cannot tell you that I am ‘cured,’ of such a thing. There is no cure, there is only effort. There is only trying to confront what I fear head on, even as my stomach churns. I still get nervous, and many times do I catch myself becoming incredibly agitated with myself if things don’t go according to plan. It was second nature to tell myself, ‘I told you you couldn’t.’ The difference is, I now see things much clearly. I am able to take a second and rationalize things for myself in an attempt to calm myself before my mind takes it any further. I take a moment, and detach what’s going wrong from my value. Because not everything is about me, not everything has to subtract from the positive.
There’s growth. It is all about the steady and tedious efforts to be better; to feel better; to feel whole. Because I may feel broken, but I am no longer helpless.
Here’s to the broken.