TALK ABOUT YOUR HARD DAYS.
you can still love yourself and be a work in progress. just give yourself some credit for how far you've come!
Aakriti Club, JIMS VK
Living with anxiety can be difficult. What many don't realise is that anxiety is more than just a rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, and perspiration. It's much more difficult, intricate, and ugly than that. I first encountered it when I was 14 years old. Knew what it was like to be powerless over your body. When you need to throw up but your limbs go paralysed, when you want to breathe but can hardly get any air into your lungs. It is draining, when you want to go out and enjoy yourself with your friends but nervousness sets in or before you deliver a speech that you have been practising for days and an attack comes in to say “hello bud, how are you today?”
I observe that today's population is much more knowledgeable about mental illnesses. However, no one wants to discuss the ugly aspects of it. They are all mental health advocates until they encounter someone who hasn't washed, cleaned their teeth, or even gotten out of bed in a few days. Then they exclaim, "That is so disgusting." No one is ready to discuss the fact that self-care goes beyond taking a long shower, lighting scented candles, or applying a sheet mask. Just getting out of bed to brush your teeth is difficult some days.
The physical aspect of mental illnesses is never discussed. How anxiety can make you exhausted even after spending the day in bed, how it can make you lose your appetite, how it may cause muscle tension and, worst of all, how it can cause insomnia. Imagine having to struggle so much just to stay alive, enduring all the distracting thoughts, nausea, and exhaustion, and then not even being able to fall asleep at night.
The worst part of having to lead a normal life while having a mental illness is not even that. It's the ignorance and incompetence of others around us. In high school, I made an effort to educate everyone around me about the symptoms of anxiety. I wanted to help those around me who were struggling with anxiety and other mental health-related problems in whatever way I could. Looking back, it's funny to see that while I was attempting to comfort all those around me, I was being referred to as a "attention-seeker" for having attacks.
All of these experiences make you learn how to control your emotions. Or, should I say so, conceal them. Because when you behave that way in public, people assume you are nuts, trying to get attention, and other such things. I can promise you that I wasn't the only one who received insults for supporting others around them. It is really discouraging to see that these topics still cannot be openly discussed in 2022. When people witness someone having an attack in public, they often comment that it is "strange," "odd," or "not human like." And the reason for everything is that nobody wants to discuss it out loud.
Why do people not hesitate when they discuss dialysis or a gall bladder operation? But when it comes to someone who is depressed, anxious, or has bipolar disorder, we are admonished "don't talk about it with everyone? They'll believe you're crazy. I tell you what. I'm crazy. I'm going crazy pretending that everything is fine, holding down my emotions out of fear of mocking, or acting like nothing is wrong. What exactly is wrong about not being fine? Why can't we have bad days and not make a big deal out of them?
To not be okay is acceptable. You don't need to resemble a Bollywood heroine from a movie who always looks put together, goes out on the weekends, and wears the finest clothes at home. Sometimes, it's okay to simply stay in bed. It's okay if all you did today was get out of bed and change clothes. If you don't perform well enough on your tests, it's alright. Life doesn't always have to be picture-perfect. It's okay to have off days and do nothing. If you don't resemble the supermodel on the magazine cover, that's fine. It is not worth starving yourself to look like that.
It is not worthwhile to compare yourself against your peers. Life is just too short to be conceited. Make an effort to guard yourself more. Take a bit more time for yourself. Give yourself some time to unwind and recuperate. There are so many things in life that you should be grateful for, including your friends, your family, animals, dogs, ice cream, and the smell of earth after it rains, cakes, and a plethora of other things. Just take a deep breath and love yourself a little more.
Aakriti Club, JIMS VK