“You need to chill”. If only I had a dollar every time someone told me that. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve struggled with not being ‘hyper’. What is a perfectly normal response (according to me) to situations, is usually a grotesque overreaction to every else. Apparently my face completely transforms into that of an unhinged maniac at the smallest of infractions. People around me get alarmed and most question my sanity. They are right. Don’t know about the sanity part, but I definitely feel unhinged at times. And that’s because if the situation is a 40/100 I see it as a 80/100 with my mind’s eye!
Now this post isn’t an excuse for my behaviour but an inside perspective of what a person with anxiety issues sees. The world for us isn’t black and white. It’s a mix of rainbows. We are hyper sensitive beings with our thoughts running amok without a modicum of control from our end. I’ve always believed my overthinking is a suitable trait as it stops me from making rash decisions. But recently, much to my chagrin, I discovered it doesn’t aid the decision making process without negatively affecting my mental health. Think of your brain as an engine. It needs rest. Now imagine revving that engine to the max when you are in the first, second, third, fourth and even neutral gear! Not hard to guess what’ll happen after a point of time.
People usually dismiss those suffering from anxiety issues as “weak” and especially in our country, were mental health is a joke, even more so. I can understand where it comes from. In a country full of horrifying poverty, it’s pathetic to complain about perennial overthinking and lack of coherent thoughts. But we all battle our demons. And anxiety is mine. It has been since I was a child. Maybe my overbearing upbringing has a role to play in it being accentuated over the years, but today, as I am at the cusp of full blown adulthood, it’s imperative I do something about it.
Ever seen a banyan tree? That’s my brain at times. The millions of branches being suspended in the air are the constant thoughts that I carry around like an unnecessary burden wherever I go. That’s why I love drinking. It helps me quell the constant churn of random nonsense that takes my brain hostage unless I am in a high pressure situation. Which is why to concentrate, I inevitably make every situation a high pressure one despite it clearly not deserving to be so! Once again, this is a bad excuse and an even worse logical conclusion, but this has been my modus operandi all these years.
I constantly rub my hands, bite my fingernails and ruffle my hair. That’s because there’s no inner peace. My mind is constantly in ‘Spidey-sense’ mode without the superpowers that come with it! Being a smoker doesn’t help my cause as it just worsens the situation. That’s a habit I aim to kick soon. Hopefully. But as an overtly anxious person, I’ve realised I constantly jeopardise my chances of being taken seriously. You become the boy who cried wolf. Because when every situation is 80/100 according to you, when things really are 90/100, people don’t believe you!
It’s not all bad though. I know for a fact I benefit from these neurotic thought patterns to be creative. Not just in my everyday interactions where I keep cracking jokes but also at work where it’s good to have an off beater like me. I am secretly proud of being weird. I was never cookie cutter anyway. But there comes an age where we must cut our hair and use a comb. I think I’ve reached that phase where I must introduce a method to the madness.
I’ve tried meditation. I’ve been to therapy but nature is hard to beat, although not impossible. An anxious person is neither in the past, nor in the future but definitely not in the present! Which is why you will find their moods being inconsistent. That’s not because they are mad at you. It’s just that a bout of overthinking about the past/ future has suddenly held them hostage. It’s this exact control which we lack. We aren’t trained to believe that everything will be alright. In fact we are hardcore pessimists! Like Dr. Strange we are fixated on that one out of fourteen million futures that awaits us while we piss on the present that will help shape it.
I am tired of all this frankly speaking.
I really want to turn a page and not lose my mind over minor infractions. It’s a good thing I’ve loving parents and friends who have tolerated my behaviour all these years. But not everyone is as lucky as I am. It’s pleasantly surprising to me how I think before I speak nowadays! It’s a superpower. Granted, everyone else developed this skill aged ten, but better at twenty six than thirty six! I hope this post made you understand what people really mean by ‘anxiety’. If not, give me a call on a Monday evening as I juggle fifteen tasks simultaneously.