I remember the television playing like a blur in the background of my mind. I always miles away from my current reality. Two weeks after I had recovered well from Dengue a type of flu that happens in the Indian subcontinent, I was obsessively checking my cheek to feel for fever. A flushing in the cheeks indicating fever was a common symptom of Dengue.
A maddening search on Google was pointing me towards my obvious death. But why was I consumed by a disease that I had recovered from? Was the warmth in my cheeks really there?
I reached the point where I had to check my temperature using a thermometer. The uncertainty was killing me. On checking, I found that my temperature was completely normal.
Slowly my surroundings started to come into focus and I saw where I had been all this time.
In an abyss of my obsessive thoughts. This is what anxiety feels like for me.
It began after I was diagnosed with Dengue; a fairly common disease that has a recovery period of about two weeks. Not exactly a life-shattering moment.
And yet it was like an unknown avenue of my brain had come to life pushing me to constantly worry about my health even after I had physically recovered.
Constantly imagining phantom pains; I was living my life with flashes of unreasonable paranoia characterized by heart palpitations and feeling of dread in my stomach. Imagine feeling like you have a big exam coming up or that feeling before the drop on a roller coaster.
Except there was no exam. There was no roller coaster.
The solution probably seemed so easy to someone else and yet impossible to me.
Just don’t worry. The worst-case scenario that’s ticking in your mind is beyond the realm of reality.
But to me in that moment of panic, calming down seemed unimaginable.
One month after I first experienced anxiety, I walked into a therapist’s office.
I was the type of person who liked to plan for things, I had made careful notes about what I wanted to talk about. Bullet points from my overthinking mind.
It all seemed a bit a ridiculous on paper. I was a jumble of thoughts when I went there.
My mind was like a train station, I kept changing trains but somehow I just couldn’t find my way back home.
Talking about it for the first time made it so real. I think I had convinced myself that if I never talked about it, if I never said the words out aloud then it never happened.
I think I have an anxiety disorder.
The words hung in the space between me and my therapist in all its devastating and cathartic glory.
I always hoped I would wake one day with this certainty pulsing through me, just knowing that I would be free of my anxiety disorder. But that isn’t what healing is.
Healing is acknowledging my problem, finding my triggers and taking steps to calm myself when I come across these triggers.
It’s a work in progress, which is to say I am a work in progress but with each passing day I feel a little bit more like myself.