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Anxiety and the Pressure to Be Perfect

The feeling that you have failed the people who blindly believed in you even more than you yourself did is agonizing. The only thing worse than this is being belittled by the same people who once used to glorify you, betting that you would be very successful one day.

After practically failing every trial that my life threw at me I somehow ended up in NUML (National University of Modern Languages) and this led to the renaissance of my inner artist, innovator & knowledge seeker. The only thing that I had in my mind was that I had to BE someone, not just anyone___ someone. I didn’t do really amazing in my first semester as I was really distracted by family issues, counseling and adapting a new environment. In the second semester, I felt this pressure that I call pressure to be perfect. I was at a stage where I overestimated the need of being perfect overlooking the fact that the state of “perfection” doesn’t really exist in real life. So I commenced my quest of perfection.

Perfect Daughter

Perfect Student

Perfect Friend

Perfect Classmate

Perfect Human

You might think this effort of achieving perfection probably led me to betterment but no, it ended up in me being deprived of the sensation that you get when you’re living in the moment because all I would do was think about my future and imagine it in my head. Hence, I developed the sickest anxiety accompanied by recurring panic attacks and somewhat partial insomnia.

During the final exam of 2nd semester, a teacher started yelling “STOP WRITING… THE TIME IS OVER!!” (That teacher was somewhat a scary looking, big-mouthed over-efficient lady) This induced an uncanny sensation of shivering in my right arm that remained for three months. Finally, I went to the doctor and she told me they were stressed induced tremors due to anxiety. She told me I had been holding too much inside me for too long and it was about time that, like a can of coke that has been shaken vigorously, I burst out all the things that I had been keeping inside for last decade and a half.

After this it was a period of recurring nightmares, tremors in my limbs, self-harm, panic attacks ,almost throwing up in front of hundreds of guests on my sister’s wedding, burning myself with iron/ presser, numbness in my body when someone would disagree with me and the urge to hurt the people around me (I even almost hit a friend with a brick but I honestly think that was not because of my mental health instead it was because he was annoying)

Currently, I’m taking medication and I take weekly therapy. I feel better now.

Now I know, you don’t have to be perfect, to err is human and we all are beautiful humans who learn from their mistakes. This is just how life works. If someone demands perfection from you then tell them that you’re a human not an animated character that does, perfectly, what it is made to do___ entertain others and satisfy their appetite for joy.

Now, I know my weaknesses and imperfections.

I know I can’t change my past and the effects it had on me. I can’t go back and turn all the wrongs into rights. I know I was meant to be here and I am. I’ve learnt to accept my failures that led me to this position and this university surrounded by the people who are amazing in one way or another…. And there’s no where else I’d rather be.

 

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My History with Depression & Anxiety

I write to let go; hence, I’m writing my painful journey to let go of the pain that has been crushing me since I was 12.

As I got really positive feedback from you guys in response to my last post; So, here it is, my story unfiltered… No beautifying fragments, no strong vocabulary, no artificiality…

I remember when I was in 3rd grade I had to change schools. I went from one of the smaller, less popular schools to the most popular one in the city. Everyone was so rude and so self-absorbed making me feel so inferior. I think this is where everything started going wrong. Anyway, being the kind of person that I am I made my place in that school, soon I was also one of the popular students and everything was fine… till it wasn’t.

I remember my first suicide attempt it was in 6th grade, I was only 12  y/o … I’m not sure how I was triggered or how long I was this messed up I just remember kissing my little brother thinking it would be the last time I’ll see him but fortunately it wasn’t. My second suicide attempt was in 8th grade, to be honest I shouldn’t call these “suicide attempts” I simply thought that  I was committing suicide but the things that I was over-dozing were not as poisonous as my parents bragged about them being. Anyway, from my second attempt I accidentally developed a practice of self-harm which up to this day remains.

I remember in the beginning all I thought of it was a cathartic practice, later on I watched a documentary about self-harm and I realized it wasn’t actually good. Even my religion was against all sorts of self-harm. Now I was living in guilt, thinking that I was sinning and making myself vulnerable to all sorts of skin infections and diseases but I just couldn’t stop; I was just so used to cutting myself every two weeks.

Other than cutting I used to;

Scratch my skin, cut the tips of my hair, hold pointy or sharp things in my hands and pressed them until I couldn’t bear the pain.

It wasn’t until I was 16 y/o that I finally met someone who helped me get through this tough time. My rate of self-harm from twice a month reduced to twice a year. I was happy about it but you know like everything in the world, human relationships and friendships also come to an end, and I went back to that dark place where I suffered from insomnia, depression and very occasional anxiety. That’s when I first started taking Xanax without a proper prescription. I didn’t know the proper dose I was supposed to take so I started with a 20 mg pill (which is too much, now I know) it helped me sleep but later I increased that dose to two pills and I even took three pills. It was about time I realized I was getting addicted to it and it took me almost two months to get off that addiction by lowering my dose by half pill every week.

This was during the time I was also applying for a medical college; I was one of the A+ students so my parents, teachers and classmates were expecting me to easily make it in a medical school. Flash-forward: I tried twice and still couldn’t make it. This again led me to drown even more into the well of self-pity. Even average students who studied for two years in pre-medical made it in the med-school and I didn’t even make it in three years. My family kept reminding me how I was a failure and seeing my friends go on and live their lives at fullest was agonizing. I wanted to be happy for them, and I was but I was just too sad for myself.

I decided to join a university and pursue BS-honors with English as my major as I was good in literature.

4th February, 2017 =My birthday

The worst birthday ever! I got into a fight with both of my uncles and I wasn’t ready to bow down this time in front of their egos so I stood 6 feet tall and told them to Fuck off. They did leave me alone but my relationship with my dad got pretty messed up.

5th February, 2017

I started university with still swollen eyes, bloody wrists and insecure heart. My father didn’t call me for 4 months and that made my state even worse that I had to go to student counselor three times a week. When she wasn’t able to help me she sent me up to the student therapist. I only took two sessions with her and I was like “I’m out!”

First semester was okay because I was staying with friends that were from my hometown but later I got into the university dorm and I was left alone again.. All alone with a blade, judgmental eyes, an aching heart and no will to live. At least not until I went to the university doctor, who happened to be a professional psychotherapist, to get my limb tremors checked.

There I made a friend and she made a client.

This was getting too long so I decided to divide it into two updates. This is the dark part, bright part is yet to be published. Thanks for the support guys. ❤

Update

I never wanted to be a writer and I still don’t find myself capable of becoming one. WordPress is a platform where most of the users are struggling everyday and their course of recovery isn’t linear. So, I joined WordPress to read about those struggles and learn how people overcome these problems everyday. I wanted  hope and a reason to not give up.

Writing helped in the beginning but eventually I started drifting away from it.This turned out to be a bad idea because writing my diary and occasional blogs was somewhat cathartic and therapeutic. Now that I wasn’t doing that it caused my anxiety to build up.

Recently my mental health started deteriorating so rapidly that I immediately went back to the state of depression that I thought I had overcome about 2 years ago. So I thought maybe I should return and write about it. Maybe I can rekindle the bond of empathy that I had with various friends that I made here. So in my next post I probably will give a proper update on my anxiety issue and sessions with my psychotherapist. Maybe someone will be able to relate and that’ll make me feel so much better because the best part of WordPress is knowing that I’m not alone there is at least one person who feels the same and kind of understands what I’m going through.

 

Self-care or Self-harm?

The abomination I have developed for myself, after realizing the kind of person I have become, is prodigious. As if being devoured by the tormenting desire to liberate myself from the rage inside I stumbled into a dark ditch of indifference towards the sufferings of the people around me. I’ve tried to justify my sudden indifference to the people’s problems and inability to offer them a shoulder by telling myself that when a selfless person starts indulging in self-care that doesn’t mean that he’s becoming selfish.

Now I’m just not sure if making efforts to scratch my own skin off my body, letting the dark cascade of blood flow from the very depth of my veins & allowing myself to be addicted to cancer-ridden temporary beings that are nothing but a malady to my health is actually self-care.

I Wasn’t Transforming I Was Hating (Part-1/2)

8:25 am

A chill ran down my spine as I approached my friend who just collapsed on the floor without a warning. I try to pick her up but she slips from my embrace back on the ground making a thud sound. Helpless, I move back as other people help her up. I just stand there shivering. No one knows what I know. The doctors had said that due to a non-operatable cyst in one of the critical parts of her hindbrain she won’t be able to live for long. I know this other people in the room don’t.
Is she dying?

9: 15 am

She survives.

She’s fine now.

I’m focusing on keeping my breathing normal and I keep staring at the teacher not hearing what he’s saying.

2:00 pm

I go back to my dorm, lie down on my unmade bed and try to disappear in the sheets. I fall asleep and I’m floating or it’s just a dream.

4: 30 pm

I’m at the bank of a river holding on to something, I’m coughing as if I was drowning & someone pulled me out of the water. I look back and I see my family drowning. 

I’m helpless once again.  

I wake up. 

It was a nightmare, a recurring one. I think it’s because I can’t recover from the time I almost drowned but didn’t.

I get up make myself a cup of tea and go out for a walk. 

5:00 pm

There’s something stuck at the back of my mind it seems to be there since the night my sister’s friend died right after taking her very last examination of MBBS. (Dr. Arooj I hope you’re at a better place) 

As I take another sip of my tea I realise what’s bothering me. It’s a comment someone left on my blog.

What was the comment?

Something about hate.

Who hated whom?

Then it comes to me, a vivid recollection of a comment saying there’s too much hatred in my writing.

“Rubbish!”, I whisper, ” It’s not hate, I tell people to keep their guards up that’s not hating.. that’s protecting. I don’t promote hate, do I? It’s called playing safe.”

Now, I’m not sure if I believe this or am just trying to make myself believe this.

So was it all hatred that I developed inside me that I proudly called my transformation?

Part-2 ahead.

So What Happened Was

As she collapsed on the floor

I remember finding myself next to her

Contemplating all the times 

When I was down on my knees

And she was there for me..
When I couldn’t pick her up

Or warm up her cold hands

The sad truth hit me that

I was of no help to her

And as I looked around I realised

That without her no amount of air
In the world

Could help me breathe 

So I sat there trembling on the floor

Waiting for a miracle to occur

It’s my birthday| Turning 21 and what I learnt.

Last year on my birthday, I was constantly wishing that it would be my last birthday. I practically made a plan to make it my last one. I remember looking at my friends thinking how oblivious they were that they had limited number of days with me. How oblivious they were of almost everything about me but the truth was that I was the oblivious one because I actually didn’t know what the future held for me. Therefore this birthday marks the realization of the power of time, as it is the best healer, for me.

The drastic shift of my mental condition during these 365 days depends on the following things. These are the things that I learnt this year.

Depression can be a place and the people living there. Sometimes it’s not self-made. Sometimes it’s a place that sucks every drop of positivity out of you just upon enterance. Surround yourself in people who make you happy.
Friendship and Love is irrelevant: They say that a life without friendship isn’t worth living because friends make life better. Then howcome the deepest stabs in my back are from my “friends'” knives? They also say You ain’t nobody till you got somebody but I say you are somebody when you got your own self by your side through thick and thin.
Cutting people off: You don’t owe anyone any explanation as to why you’re kicking them out of your life. If someone gives you bad vibes kick them the hell out. It’s your life. Better to play safe now than to regret later.
Keep your expectations lower: I know people tend to say that a lot and it’s almost humanly impossible to be a social animal and not have expectations from fellow social animals but you have to try one day you will stop expecting, believe me. 
Creat a camouflage: Camouflage yourself into someone who doesn’t care even if you do. If that’ll be your image no one will hurt you as they’ll know you’re unbreakable anyway. If people think you’re vulnerable they’ll try to break you. Who would want to hurt the snow queen anyway?

Suicide shouldn’t be an option. No matter what you’re going through. There will come a time that the thing that’s stinging you will stop stinging. It can be a matter of days, weeks, months or maybe a complete year.
Be you and do you. Never compare yourself with anyone else.

This is me laughing through the pain because the candles wouldn’t cooperate 😂

Be happy and content!