There are certain things in life that no college, book or internet can teach you. One needs to simply experience it.
A year ago, when I was lying in an ICU bed having a gut wrenching, muscle freezing feeling trying to explain the doctor that something is wrong with me and him looking at me with pity trying to tell me otherwise. That day I learnt that being on the other side of the table ain’t no fun. Despite being a very expressive person I was struggling to articulate what I was feeling.
The things that I encountered may differ from person to person. Humans as we know are complex yet fascinating and there are going to be innumerable versions of their experiences. Mine takes me back to the anxiety attacks where I have cried frantically for hours, going berserk over the limitless thoughts running through my mind. I have felt so vulnerable at times when my mom looked at me helplessly wanting to help and me failing at explaining why I was feeling what I was feeling.
There is so much chaos in the head, you feel all the things and thoughts spiralling out of control and a scream at that time would almost feel cathartic.
Then came the anti-anxiety pills. I share a love-hate relationship with them. They kept me company at most nights and soothed me but made me feel groggy and lethargic during the day. Anxiety is an emotion as strong as happiness or sorrow, it’s a feeling of constant state of despair. It’s not all in my head, you know?
Anxiety also seeks isolation. From being the first one to plan social events, I slowly began to be the first one to turn down those events. It didn’t happen overnight, it’s a process and a progressive one.
It also taught me that having a support system is comforting. No, it does not make it less painful but it helps you get through the pain. As much as I would like for it to go away, I now embrace it with the hope of it making me stronger and better. It is not a quick fix, I know, but it helps.
I have always been the kind to care too much, to give too much. Many think ‘Oh! That’s a wonderful thing to do, that’s the way to be’. But the most daunting thing about this kind of nature is feeling too much. Expecting people to understand and reciprocate in the same manner to you. And it is one of the common causes of an anxiety disorder.
No, I am not writing this as another motivational anecdote for people feeling or going through similar things. This is for those who are around the ones diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
The do’s and dont’s we all need to know. I am aware it is not the other person’s responsibility or duty to always be as understanding and patient. But there are a few things that are done completely wrong or said in the worst possible manner that need to stop.
1. No, it’s not in their head and no it won’t just go away.
2. Please stop comparing similar situations from your life and telling them it happens to everyone. Remember, to each, their own.
3. They don’t need to listen to a solution, sometimes they only want to vent or cry. Give them their comfort. Give them their space while being with them alongside.
4. Ask them to seek professional help. They may be reluctant and will say no. Be patient, support them.
5. It may seem like they’re worrying for no reason and it may sound very futile to you. Please don’t act like it really is.
6. Be kind. As they say,”Everyone is going through a journey you know nothing about, be kind.”
There are some other things you can do to resolve clinical symptoms:
- People with anxiety face clinical symptoms like fast heart rate known as palpitations, tightness in the chest, breathlessness and sometimes high blood pressure.
- Deep breathing and yoga can go a really long way. Try to do it along with them, it gives them a sense of comfort and support.
- Chamomile tea too can do wonders along with some meditative music (you’ll find a lot of these on YouTube).
- There are various support groups and online forums that they could join, they can talk to people experiencing and going through similar situations without being judged.
Motivate them to take up some activities, cooking personally helps me a lot. I know a few others who read, write, paint. It is all about channelising the negative energy into a positive one.
Lastly, in this world full of hatred and chaos, be their calm.