THERE are many cases of people being diagnosed with anxiety, very few are alike. This is how I dealt with it.
My anxiety started to fully take place when I moved here to the Philippines. It was early September 2019 in Macau, and my family’s plan on moving to another country took place. I was 21 at the time. With all the friends and family whom I’ve grown being in that little city, it took a great deal of courage to leave them.
I was actually quite numb, the emotions never really sunk in. I pretty much enjoyed my final night with my best friends and closest cousins with an eat all you can blowout; it was honestly a really enjoyable evening for me. I remember having this underlying feeling of fright and regret, but I ignored it and continued with my meal.
Then came the morning after, I was packed and ready to go out. My Dad and I were flying together to Davao so he could help me get settled in, while my mother dealt with her resignation as well as my sisters eventually move to the city with me. I then took a couple of minutes to be alone in my room looking at the walls and the furniture within them and said goodbye. This is the first instance of anxiety creeping in. Of course, I had no idea what the feeling of true anxiety was at the time.
As time flew by, I noticed that I worried a lot even if there was nothing to stress about. I’d constantly wake up palpitating and out of breath even if I slept well. Eventually my mother and sister came, and my father went back home to work.
The sadness with the separation of my father dwelled me deeper into an unknown depression. I would stay in bed all day, only to get up when I was quivering from hunger or to use the toilet. Ignorant as I was, I knew something was very wrong. Three months passed and I finally got the courage to talk to my mom about it. She comforted me for hours every night for half a year ‘til she got fed up and went to a doctor.
I was diagnosed with a heart problem and clinical anxiety. That was the very moment I realized mental health is a real illness. I worried constantly about everything and it hindered my everyday life as well as burdened the lives of my family around me. Eventually, it died down because of the school year. The interaction with other people gave my mind a break from itself and distracted me to more productive things.
Choosing to fight it was the biggest step I’ve made so far, and to be honest it gave me the courage to read up on what I had. Realizing I was actually in a deep depression at the age of 21 was baffling. I was healthy physically, but my mind produced symptoms that affected me in reality.
Not all mental illness can be cured, and a lot of times even fighting it can take everything from somebody. Anxiety actually involves nit-picking, worrying, anger, immobilization, randomness, and, believe it or not, a lot of pride.
How? Well, people tend to deny a lot of things naturally; they tend to try and fix things themselves. This, in turn, makes it worse because even acknowledging that something is wrong might make one anxious then led to a full-blown attack and, in extreme cases, a heart attack.
I became aware of what I have. I’m still trying to figure out what triggers. Sure, I still have an occasional attack now and then; it’s honestly so random that I don’t know what to do sometimes. It’s horrible and I wish none of this to anybody. But I’ve chosen not to let it rule my life; it’s difficult but any start is better than not starting at all.
To this day, I still deal with my anxiety. Positivity from people around me has helped me grow immensely and made me see the silver lining to everything, even anxiety. It’s ridiculous but without anxiety, I wouldn’t have understood myself, let alone other people dealing with their own minds.
I understand why people get depressed, why people get suicidal. No obstacle I’ve encountered has been this difficult; it gets so hard that the only attractive thing that runs through your head is ending it all. That’s how drastic it can get.
My two biggest comforts are knowing that there are people here to help me and I’m not alone. I have people who love me and I have people to take care as well. The second would be a saying that my grandfather said, “This will pass”. Everything is temporary. Sometimes things are difficult but it’s not the end of the world.
Yes, a lot can understand the feeling but a lot cannot take it. I don’t think people who have taken their lives are selfish, and I don’t think they were in any way stupid. I sympathize actually. I became an advocate of mental illness, and I support anyone that comes to me for help. So far, I’m very grateful to everyone who’s helped me throughout the years. (Nino Velasco, AB Mass Communication-AdDU)