MADRID, 20 Nov. (By Nikita Singh, a young Indian member of the UNICEF La Juventud Opina community) -
Today I want to take stock of how far I've come after having anxiety for almost five years. I wanted to share the most important things I have experienced and learned from having this problem.
My first experience with anxiety was when I was 13 years old: the boys and girls I used to play with would pick on me. I remember feeling sad, out of control, and overloaded with worry, but I didn't know that what I was experiencing was called "anxiety." I avoided going out alone, for fear of being bothered again. I had almost stopped swimming and playing badminton, which was my only hobby at the time.
I used to sit in a corner of my house and think about questions like: "why me?", "am I not good enough to have good friends?" and many more things. People didn't understand that boys and girls can be anxious too, so probably no one (including myself!) realized that I needed help. I moved on with my life, thinking that maybe everyone felt this stressed out and that it was normal to be out of control.
My family and I moved to a different city after a few months, but then I also felt insecure because of the same old thought that "it will happen again" I will be bullied again in a different city by new people. Due to this recurring thought, I hesitated to make new friends near my home. She wasn't friends with many people, just a few boys and girls at school.
It wasn't something serious until 2019, when I started pulling my hair out, which is an anxiety disorder called trichotillomania. My parents did not understand why I would suddenly start pulling my hair, and every day they would see numerous strands of hair lying on the floor near my study table. I didn't know at the time that what I was dealing with was an anxiety disorder, so I didn't get any help but I started to control it.
This year, as the world returned to its pre-COVID-19 pandemic routine, I was at home studying an introductory medical course and felt discouraged by my performance and the stressful environment. As a result, my anxiety this time peaked and was out of control.
But the worst was yet to come. I started pulling my hair out even more and my grades also plummeted as I couldn't concentrate on my studies and avoided talking to anyone. I used to get irritated and angry for no apparent reason.
The dream became my escape route. Even though I woke up early, I would force myself to go back to sleep just so I could calm my torturous mind.
Sometimes she cried, for no reason. I fell into an endless cycle of obsessive thoughts. I spent days at my study table doing nothing. I felt so alone, even after having people around me...
Some nights, I would wake up three or four times and it would happen that my mind was racing, my heart was pounding like it was out of my chest, and my lungs couldn't keep up with the rest of my body as I struggled to breathe. I used to have anxiety and stomach aches, a feeling of butterflies in my stomach, but much worse, before I started the exams and when I received the results.
At this point in my life, jumping off the tallest building in the world would have been easier for me than asking someone for help. Nothing could have been worse for me than this. I used to think of ways to escape from situations that I couldn't handle and I would create an imaginary world parallel to the reality that I would like it to be.
Meanwhile, I felt disconnected from everyone close to me, including my parents, since I thought that no one would understand me and that I would only upset and stress them because of me. This was one of my big mistakes. Now I realize that all this would not have lasted as long if I had talked to them.
I had begun to believe the lies that anxiety sent me; yes, anxiety lied to me quite a bit. As if it keeps reminding me daily of the past, telling me that worrying changes things, that I'm not good enough, that I'm being judged, that I don't deserve to speak, that I can't ask for things or make even simple requests because I'm going to upset people. people and that I am going crazy... Overcoming these lies became a daunting task for me.
Realizing that if this continued all my dreams would be dashed and that this was not the life I wanted to live, I decided to see a therapist and began to feel good. There were many days where I felt like I couldn't beat my anxiety and that I would have to live like this for the rest of my life and I couldn't become the person I always wanted to be. I did a pretty good job with it; I finally feel that my life and my mind are under my control.
And finally here I am. Still anxious, but feeling a little more hopeful. The journey to get to this point has been arduous, but I'm glad to be here. Today I just want to express my deepest gratitude to my parents, friends, and everyone who has been there for me.
To my mom and dad I can't thank you enough for accepting even the darkest parts of me and loving me so unconditionally.
A quick note to all the people with anxiety: "YOU HAVE THIS", and I can't stress enough that you really are not alone. You may look around you and think that no one else in the world understands what you are going through, but some people do.
Never be afraid or ashamed of what you are going through. Anxiety is something that many people around the world experience on a regular basis. Since no one talks about it, people are confused and overwhelmed.
If I look back five years to now, it seems that I lived through a war with my mind and finally won it. To people who are feeling bad or suffering, I would say that the situation will improve. In the process, you'll discover more about yourself than you ever thought you could. The most important thing is that you will discover that you are a fighter and that, when you have hit rock bottom, you can only go up.