How many times that, when in a fix, all you have to do is recite mantras about getting better? I have done that countless times. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so; but lately, anxiety creeps in even more even if I needed to comfort myself with consolations. It might sound unlikely but yes: I get utterly anxious despite all those words of self-assurance and recent events have proved how much I do badly at such.
Not too long ago, I decided to shift from my current graduate degree course at University (from English Studies: Language to Creative Writing); and since I wanted to appeal for readmission for the next semester, I wrote a letter stating such then appending my intention to shift. I never indicated in the letter that I was withdrawing, but that I only needed to take the exam for a potential shift. Fast forward two months later: I took the exam then failed, hence forfeiting any opportunity that I be part of the Creative Writing program. Now I want to revert back to my original course but I had apprehensions that I might be disallowed from doing so since I took an exam in a different majorship and even professed a possibility of shifting (without any of the words such as “withdrawal” indicated therein). To make a long story short, I called the graduate school office then told them all my concerns. They told me that I don’t have any problem at all unless I withdrew from the program beforehand. I said I did not, thanked them, then hung up. Then my brain began racing: what if they actually think I opted out of my English Studies program through stating the word “shift” in my readmission letter? Afterwhich, my thoughts began interspersing with each other so rapidly that whenever I even come across the name of my current university, all I do is hyperventilate along with questions cropping up like “Oh there, what happens to you now?” and other demeaning words such as “You’re so presumptuous now there. It’s all your fault!” I try to battle all these out with supposed positive thinking and distracting myself but all that happens is I end up at the lower end of my coping mechanisms. Nothing happens but waves of self deprecating ideas bouncing onto me from nowhere; but of course as cognizant I can become, I would pinpoint as from that very situation I am currently hurdling. So as of now, despite all platitudes I mumble, I do not feel as pacified as I should. My mind keeps on berating me, doubling up vituperation against my contrived positive thoughts, then I would have the anxiety attacks.
The question from all these, therefore: Is it even wise to self-reassure all the time when the going gets tough and the tough gets going?
For my part, I believe that what works for others may not be the best solution for some. I constantly waver from my own emotional stability most often than not; and while I could say that I have been more optimistic about a plethora of things and situations nowadays (a far cry from my previous dispositions), nothing discounts the fact that I still have periods of severe anxiety, where all I’d feel is somewhat that of being rammed up against a wall, pressed tightly against it until I could not breathe. My thoughts gather themselves so much as to choking me from all ends, even if an incident seems miniscule than how I’d perceive about it. Talk of blowing things out of proportion. And that’s anxiety, that no amount of “positive thinking” could even dissuade me from mulling over time and time again about an occurrence that makes me constantly stay at the edge of my seat, without compunction. It is almost like obsession but to a degree wherein it is as though I would always sense disaster looming overhead. Indeed, all these does not bode well at all for my mental health.
From this, questions may now arise regarding approaching people with anxiety with assurances. Would it be alright to approach them and say positive words to comfort their feelings? What would be the wiser option in accommodating people with anxiety without even hurting their feelings, hence a fight or flight inclination on their part? Up to what extent does reassurances help persons who need to fight against the constancy of trepidation that currently besets them? As for me, based on my experiences, it is just a matter of people around me encouraging me to stand up and face the root of the problem as well as that of helping me prepare for the consequences. This does not mean that I be served with the same amount of platitudes that I have armed within me (that, as I said, do not do the trick for the most part). Thus, all I need are those who would be there for me when the hot iron of anxiety strikes me real hard, and whose presence are formidable enough that my obsessions about how terrible my experiences have become in one certain aspect of my life may eventually dwindle. They do not need to speak—it is enough that they’re THERE. Seeing them calms me down and instills in me a certain amount of hope that I can make it and everything will eventually fall into place.
That being said, all I need are those around me and not merely consolations through words; and with the fewest of friends I do have, I daresay, poses enough reason for me to move forward.