The other day I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. I entered into the library of my university and when she saw me she ran over and immediately began to apologize for not contacting me about us getting together. She kept apologizing, saying how much of a bad friend she was and I probably thought she was terrible. It while she said that when I realized I hadn’t actually thought of her for more than a week. I don’t mean to sound cruel, but with a full course load, working part-time and all my anxiety I had been experiencing I didn’t really have time to think about seeing friends.
It was only days later when I was walking on the beach trying to clear my anxious mind when I thought about how wrong it all was. My reason for not reaching out to friends was because my mind had become about three things: school, work and anxiety. Anxiety has become a chapter of my life as big as school or work. It is no longer this thing that I have, it now has me. My worries and obsessions are now on my mind and take up just as much time as a job or school. And that’s wrong. I don’t want to be a Student, Cashier and Worrier. I don’t want my anxiety to define my life. It seems easy enough to change, all I have to do is stop worrying, but that is not really possible, which is why I am here, why we are all here.
Some days I hate myself. I hate my mind. I wish I could take off my worries like a jacket and hang it in a closet for a little while. But I can’t. My worries are part of who I am and I hate myself for that. A few days ago when my anxiety was at a high point, I fell asleep full of worry, my exhausted body surrendering to sleep even as my mind raged. I dreamed of screaming. There was nothing else I could remember but in my dreams I just heard a voice screaming at me. I awoke several times that morning gasping for air and had to take deep breaths to stop myself from having an anxiety attack. If my roommate noticed this, she said nothing. It was that day where I felt I was like my old teenage self again and had fallen into the deepest pits of anxiety hell.
I wish I could change myself, but that’s easier said than done. Sometimes I just wish I could be a normal person, without having to carry around this anxiety, tainting every part of my life.
I think it helps to think of anxiety as a package you have to carry with you during a certain period of your life and will deliver it at the end and get rid of it.
You’ve said a lot in your blog. The first thing I wondered was if your friend had anxiety. She sounds like it. Why apologise for not seeing a friend for a week? That’s not a crime. She’s not your church counsellor and she doesn’t owe you visits.
As to the life: study, work and anxiety sounds like what I had for a few years there. As the work gets better, as the study gets better, the anxiety slowly offloads. Keep working on the study, keep working on the job. Friends will come and go in life at different stages. Enjoy them while they are there but don’t think of them as an obligation or a burden.
but don’t complicate things. Don’t grab an overview and judge the overview. Once that happens you’re in the middle of inception. Judge yourself for judging yourself. Now judge yourself for judging yourself for judging yourself? You don’t have the life experience for the overview. Have the overview at forty or fifty. For now, just gather the experiences. Just learn the things.
Break it back down. Live in the now without judgement.