It’s happening again, the same way it happened before. That creeping dread, the audiovisual over-stimulation coming from nowhere but your own head. It creates invisible barriers between you and the rest of the world. Friends, family, classes and hobbies all end up feeling vague and distant. If this sounds familiar to you, then you likely suffer from one of the myriad forms of anxiety. Anxiety is far from an uncommon occurrence, whether it be a passing feeling or a consistent diagnosis. Most everyone has had to deal with anxiety's strange internal tensions at some point. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, ranging from a simple reaction to stress to a protracted struggle between yourself and your own brain.
My particular strain of anxiety is hypochondria: a constant fear of something out of my control going wrong with my body or health. More often than not, it is extremely illogical. Aches become tumours, floaters and specks become possible blindness and even when there is nothing in particular for my brain to obsess over, I tend to be left with a foggy sense of impending doom. Even when it feels like the logical side of my mind has won out, and I am able to go about my day and enjoy myself, there will oftentimes be a small corner of my brain declaring fire and brimstone like some sort of drug-fueled street preacher. Some days it seems to come out of nowhere, others it mutates out of latent stress, but each time it feels like trying to walk through a tar pit. Grotesque strands of black ooze cling and drag, impeding any sort of progress or productivity.
One of the most consistent “symptoms” of prolonged anxiety spikes tends to be fatigue. A general sense of immobility overtakes you, draining your energy whilst simultaneously refilling your mind with dread. Mustering the willpower to go to classes or the library and dedicate yourself to work can feel like an uphill battle against a nigh impossible foe, while observers at the fringes of the war zone may simply tut and snigger some nonsense about laziness. This is all too common, obnoxiously familiar territory to many people, myself included. Even in class, there is no guarantee of a constructive use of time seeing as, more often than not, your attention span is completely shot. I either find myself catching floaters and sparks in my vision, nerves getting the better of me as my line of sight darts around like a madman, or wrapped in a miasma of gloom and fear.
The best things to remember in times like these, when it feels like your entire mental infrastructure is collapsing in on itself, is that your problems are not unique. You are not alone in your nervous throes. Though, at times, it can be among the most isolating feelings you may ever experience, someone -- somewhere -- is going through the same thing. I know that won’t return your energy, nor will it magically soothe your worries, but it is the first strike of the chisel into the stone. Without an understanding of what triggers you, without the knowledge that others struggle alongside you, in essence you are dooming yourself to wallow in a lonely smog, toxic and draining.
If you don't accept it you are just going to make it worse.
Suggested reading: Anxiety is an Invalid Excuse