I’ve spent years not being in the moment. I felt like I was just participating in it as a ghost, not being there for real.
I found it very difficult to just stop my mind from spiralling and going somewhere else while doing something. People told me I appeared detached and far away.
That was all because of anxiety. I was anxious about how I could come across to other people. How they would think I was weird, or boring.
Also, I wasn’t feeling any joy. Depression had me deep for years, so anytime I was not enjoying myself I was stressing about how being somewhere else doing something else would make me happy.
I also had this weird feeling that in order to do something meaningful in my life I had to stop doing meaningless things, like talking about everyday things with others or going to the cinema.
I was 16, and my anxiety made me feel like I was already loosing time and I was late to create something meaningful. At 16.
My anxiety made me feel like I was late at everything. At being smart, because my grades in high school were average. At being enough, because it seemed like every effort I made for others was just not recognised. I felt stupid and ugly and I thought that if I didn’t fix that before the end of high school my life would be doomed.
Only to realise that real life starts after high school. But my anxiety never let me go. I am good with people, but my anxiety got me to the point of not going at gatherings because I felt like I would have a panic attack.
I felt so anxious up until last year. My dad and I went to visit the town I would spend a year in studying a master. I was so anxious I made three mistakes in a single sentence whole ordering coffee.
I have been living in England for 6 years, I know how to order a coffee. But because this coffee shop was in the place I would spend my future time in, I just couldn’t focus. My dad was so surprised, as he thought that I learnt how to deal with anxiety.
I started to deal with it at the start of my masters last year. I would first tackle manageable things. Like, if something made me anxious, I would do it first so it was out of the way.
In social situations it had been trickier, but I worked out a way. Whenever I say something or do something silly, I laugh at myself and I joke about me. You have no idea how many people just told me they could relate. “I say silly things myself all the time” “o my god I thought about it the other day”.
Self irony is one of the best remedies doe anxiety, at least for me. It makes other people laugh, easing the mood and making you appear fun to be around.
About creating something meaningful with my life, I just started to look at successful people’s life. Turns out there’s a lot of har work behind. And I learnt that some make it pretty late in life, so I am not worried anymore about wasting my time.
How does anxiety make you feel? What do you do to deal with it? Let me know!