It’s 2019 and I am the 7 billionth person to have an anxiety disorder. And though I hear this mantra from every modern blog, liberal tweet, and stream-oriented television show I have to remind myself: that’s okay. One thing I often try and consider: the fact that many millennials have anxiety disorders isn’t a symptom of a generation desiring to identify as different / special but an epidemic of mental health.
The fact is, I’ve had this my whole life. Maybe. More concretely I know I had it in those brief two weeks of 2011 where I thought I was dying but couldn’t tell you exactly why or how for approximately two weeks. Since then, on and off, I have attempted to wrangle this thing in. I’ve gone from de-emphasizing it to over-emphasizing it, to borderline making it my entire personality, to ignoring it completely. None of these hats have worked very well (I have a big head).
In terms of mental health, 2018 was a major L for me. It seemed like at every turn, an overwhelming sense of despair and dread was controlling my life and motivating my every action. It kept me inside, away from friends. It occupied my mind to a really disorienting degree. I’d spend days to weeks constantly paranoid about one thing that would, almost instantaneously, disappear.
And perhaps that’s why I haven’t been as explicit or motivated in seeking help until now. Because, when the anxiety is over, everything I had convinced myself to be the end of the world suddenly didn’t seem like a big deal at all. Never mind the friendships or opportunities I was sacrificing in these spirals, I was mostly just happy to feel okay again.
Then of course, there’s the fact that it’s nearly impossible to communicate or convey properly how I’m feeling in these moments. I have attempted to be explicitly candid about my condition in the past. But it’s a lot to put on someone, even friends who genuinely want to help and help you get through moments. I found myself teetering and occasionally dipping over into manipulative behavior - almost employing friends to not help me but simply suffer alongside me. I have swung further in the other direction, hoping to just flat out not bother people as often as I can. I don’t know how much a professional would recommend this but it makes me feel better overall as a person.
But ultimately, the tough thing to swallow is, I am that cis white straight male. Mental illness problems or not, I have been socialized to put the weight of my anxieties on others. Even (and maybe especially) don’t do it do it explicitly.
I’ve been making active efforts to help myself since the beginning of this year and I felt compelled tonight because I noticed something I hadn’t felt in a long time: boredom (at work no less). A boredom that, wasn’t accompanied by an anxiety of anything. Or a dreadful though or a suicidal ideation. I was just genuinely bored for a second so I decided to write this post.
As I work towards improving myself, and making amends for who I once was, as I proceed through the next few years of the world with an attempted cautious optimism, I’m hoping to be bored more often. I am aware of the cheese but I can’t help that I am feeling somewhat better!!! ONWARD AND UPWARD