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Struggling With Anxiety: Things I Do To Cope With It

For as long as I can remember, I have always had crippling anxiety, even as a small child. But of course, back then, I could not understand it for what it was. And in the kind of society and culture that I live in, mental health issues are still a taboo topic and widely misunderstood.

It took me many years, but finally, in 2020, I began to actually work through my problems. And while I often feel like my family refuses to see my progress, I have noticed the changes within myself, the peace that I feel now, and I know that I am coping better every day.

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Back from hiatus

It’s good to be back (again).

I had a rough start to this year, so I really needed the break. I won’t lie, I always feel strangely guilty whenever I take a break from blogging. It feels almost sacrilege, which is absurd because this is just a blog. This is just my own tiny bubble on the internet, where I feel almost completely at ease to share whatever is on my mind. There is a comfort in knowing that I can express my thoughts freely from behind a screen, where no one who knows me in real life would try to interpret the meaning of my words just so they can fit me in the narrative they’ve written for me.

That sounds harsher than I intended it to. What I really mean is that when you interact with someone in person, you form an impression of them. And even if your first impressions are not your lasting impressions, you will still unconsciously try to fit them in a stereotype, or at the very least you will unintentionally put labels on them, for no other reason than it helps you make sense of that person better. We are all guilty of this to some extent, but here, on this blog, I don’t have to be afraid of being labelled. Of being finite.

I have personal issues with being labelled, but that’s a story for later.

As I was saying—I was meaning to return to blogging in January and then in February, but given how things were going for me I realized that It just wasn’t the right time yet. One of the most important lessons I learned last year is prioritizing. This year, after losing a friend, after watching my father’s health deteriorate day by day (and realizing that part of his carelessness about his own health is because of his mental health issues), opening a bakery which comes with its own equal share of excitement and stress, starting my final year at university, dealing with my own mental health, and a million other things…yeah blogging was not my priority.

Looking back at my younger self though, I have to admit, I am doing much better than I have had in years. Despite everything, I am coping, and definitely knowing what needs to be done first has helped me a lot.

I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are reading this, and you are disappointed in yourself for not being able to follow whatever plans you have set for yourself to the dot—then take a deep breath and stop. You don’t have to do everything at once. Just focus on what’s truly important, and try to choose something that brings you joy. Best of luck. You got this.

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The Hard Part

((cue nervous laughter because this is the first personal post on this blog hehehehehe))

This has been on my mind for a while now, and I am not sure how best to express this in words without embarrassing myself, but I tend to form emotional attachments a little too quickly, a little too strongly, and at the same time, I find myself unable to really open up to people, to share the things that friends are supposed to be sharing with each other. It makes friendships hard enough as it is for an introvert like me–on one hand I can’t make my friendships more meaningful even though I want to; without intimacy, without the feeling of trust that comes with sharing and keeping secrets and other things you wouldn’t tell most people, it’s difficult to cross the borderlands between “acquaintance/friends” and “good friends”.

On the other hand, just because I cannot share these things that matter so much to me, the important things, does not mean I don’t care deeply about the people surrounding me. I do. It’s just hard to prove it when I can’t open up to them.

And we are just talking about friendships here, not romantic relationships. Let’s not even go there, hahaha.

((Actually we are going to go there))

A little more than a month ago, I gathered up the courage to text a crush I have only known through social media. Mind you that this was a really stupid crush–an absolute school girl infatuation–I didn’t actually like the guy. It was more like a he-seems-interesting kinda thing.

Anyway we started talking and I was surprised by how quickly we became friends. One of the first things I learned early on was that he had a girlfriend, which, as disappointing as it was, didn’t bother me that much because I did not really like him seriously. At first.

I guess you all know where this is going.

Well, no point beating around the bush: now, after having talked to him for some time and getting to know him better, I am starting to think I have feelings for him. I am not going to go into the details of that or why I even started having feelings for him because that’s not what I want to get off my chest. I want to talk about the hard part.

The part where I start to forget myself because of how emotionally attached I can become to a person.

I guess it happens to a lot of people when they fall in love. As cliche as it sounds love really can be…overwhelming. And I guess it’s normal that when you fall in love, this one person becomes so important to you that you start to forget that you are important to yourself too. That all the people around you are characters in your story but you are the protagonist. That this story is about you.

Especially if the other person doesn’t reciprocate or (if they are a shitty boyfriend/girlfriend) makes you feel like they don’t love you as much back.

At times like this I guess it’s hard to remember that the love we want isn’t some thing that only one person can give. I think that’s part of why it’s hard for us to leave those people, even when they hurt us and make us unhappy,  because we want them to be the one to give us the love that we give them. To quote Charlie from The Perks of Being A Wallflower (the book not the movie): we accept the love we think we deserve.

And I think all of this is part of why it is so hard to love ourselves first–to give ourselves the love that we actually deserve. That’s the hard part.

For myself, I have been doing a little better lately. I am putting a bit of distance between myself and this guy, and using that time to focus on me instead. I am not talking trips to the spa or shopping mall (but if that makes you feel good do that, you do you) but more like things that I know will make me happier in the long run: running every alternate days to get in shape a bit, writing more often, talking to other people, reading more, etc. Things that require me to think about other things instead of him. He is still on my mind, more often than I like, but at least now I am trying to become the person I wish I could be, and focus on all the other kinds of love I have in my life instead of the one I can’t have. It’s hard, not talking to him, not trying to have a little more of him even if just as friends, but hey it’s a start.

Dear reader, if you are reading this, I am sorry for telling you so much that you didn’t ask to know, and I thank you for “hearing” me out anyway.  I am done for today. All the love!