Art titled Anxiety by: tsukiko-kiyomidzu

“Hun, you have a powerful mind,”

He said one morning just recently. It took me 30 minutes to respond because somehow I knew where the conversation was headed. 

“Because you are good at worrying.”

The response after I’d asked why. 

That same week, I chanced on a brochure on anxiety and decided to read it to while away time. The more questions I answered, the more glaring it became that “you are good at worrying” was more like a euphemism for “you have anxiety problems,” and I didn’t like it. Mpaninfoͻ se woyam yε wo ya na woamfee wo se a, worenya ano aduro. To translate: there is an Akan proverb that says if you have a tummy ache and you choose to deny it, you’ll get no remedy for it.

I have anxiety problems.

I cannot count the number of times I have been so knotted up in my guts, palms sweaty, nerves tingling, heart beating erratically (intermittently stopping briefly, causing me to heave), tension headache intensifying, because I’m either worried about something that’s about to happen inevitably, or that may happen, or that has happened.

There are days when I cannot even tell why I’m having palpitations and there are days when I can’t tell if I’m having a genuine flare up or it’s the worry and nervousness that’s causing me to feel so physically ill.

I remember several occasions when I’ve cried hysterically and thrown up and felt weak in the knees so badly I am unable to stand because of fear of some outcome. And although it has been almost two years since I last had one of those, I still can go full days with my heart beating erratically and a non-stop migraine, and these are the ones I know are worry-induced.

I used to not sleep at all at night. Lately, I do much better although I still sleep light most of the time and wake up a lot throughout (still with nights that I am unable to sleep at all) and though this, I must say, is not wholly due to worrying all of the time, it IS a contributing factor some of the time, if not a lot.

It is funny to think that I offer advice to others who face similar struggles, trying to help them rise above this crippling weight. You’d think I’d take my own advice anytime I feel it rise. Well, I was not taking my own advice because I hadn’t acknowledged yet that what I have lived with over the years has a name. And after acknowledging that, I struggled to call it by that name.

“Let’s give her (a monkey we met for the second time at our getaway spot) a name.”

“No, we will not.”

“Why not? What are you afraid of?”

“I’m not afraid of anything. So if we give her a name and we come next time and we’re told she died, what will we do?”

“Well, then we’d cry…and get closure.”

It is a big deal to call a thing by its name. It is to say, I know you. I know what you are. I accept that this is you and this is what you are called. This is your identity. To call a thing by its name means there is some relationship even if remote. It means there is some attachment no matter how abstract.

But sometimes calling a thing by its name opens a door of opportunity; an opportunity to find ways to destroy that thing now that you know it. You may have the strength to, but to use it for the annihilation process, you must know that thing you intend to annihilate. So you call it by its name.

Baby steps are vital steps; future-telling, hope-filled steps. And so this is me, for the sake of all my friends and loved ones, and all other people out there dealing with this, taking those steps and calling it by its name: ANXIETY.

Admitting such is never easy. It is almost a welcome to be jabbed at where you’re most sore. Like a live broadcast every day that you are weak. Room for misreading of intentions. “Can we change the channel now?”

Look now, I’m tearing up.

Perhaps the conversation should start here…

P.S. *hit publish. don’t hit publish. hit publish. don’t hit publish. hit publish. don’t hit publish. hit publish.d..*


8 thoughts on “CALLING IT BY NAME : aNXieTy

  1. I believe you’d know I relate so well to this… For me it wasn’t about accepting that I had problems with anxiety, it was more of, I brushed it off like everyone around me did and called if overreacting or being dramatic as I was constantly told. But I have understood slightly… How mine works. The major problem I have is, I battling it and depression half the time, and anyone who goes through this will tell you it is NOT a good mix…at all. Caring too much and not caring at all… It’s self destruction waiting to happen.
    What I can say is, making some changes to my life helped.. I was afraid of change and where I was, that time worsened everything.. So I took a leap; switched jobs, opened my heart more. And I do try to not focus what brings my.mood down… Because once my mood is down, anxiety follows. It’s been a calm.couple of weeks…so yea.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes I worry so much that it leaves me feeling more worried that something is wrong which in turn leads to panicking and it goes on and on in a vicious cycle. I imagine all sorts of worst case scenario which is a good thing being an Engineer but a terrible thing being human.
    I can relate

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s