The Truth About Anxiety (Personal)

When I was prescribed an anxiety pill a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was completely unnecessary. I had gone to the doctor about a completely different problem, and the fact that he thought it was also necessary I drink an anti-anxiety, antidepressant pill for a month seemed like just another inconvenience. Initially, this pill made me really drowsy, spaced out and gave me migraines; one week in, and some of the side-effects are still pretty strong. However, I have made the rational decision to drink this medication for the next three weeks, and fight through the side-effects as much as I can. So why the sacrifice?

I know that a good percentage of my generation complains about anxiety. This is such a widespread problem that it has pretty much become a meme and a joke. It almost seems as though everyone suffers from anxiety – many self-diagnosed – and I definitely didn’t want to be part of that group. Since I wasn’t having full-blown panic attacks, I dismissed the possibility of me having this problem and just went about my daily responsibilities. Little did I know that my life would come to a point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Following a series of health complications during the last couple of years or so, I started to develop hypochondriac tendencies. Even after the doctor told me that I had nothing serious, I was convinced that I was detrimentally sick, and continued to experience symptoms of sickness even after I was supposedly “cured”. I was told that this was normal, and if I looked after myself my body would go back to the way it was in a few months. Instead of coming to terms with this, I began to feel terribly anxious that I would stay sick for the rest of my life and that there was something the doctors were missing.

Fast forward one year, and I went to get checked again. Aside from some minor imbalances in my body, the doctors didn’t find anything and basically gave me the same answer – just look after yourself, don’t worry and you will eventually feel better. There is nothing seriously wrong with you. By this point, I felt shaken up and reluctant to believe that I wasn’t heavily sick. I would experience terrible anxiousness from every minor symptom, and was convinced that I had developed all of these problems when numerous tests showed the opposite. I didn’t even have the motivation to “look after myself properly”, believing that it wouldn’t help anyway.

During my last check-up, my doctor decided to call in a neuropathologist and have him check me. It only took him a minute to figure out that I had bad anxiety, and he ended up prescribing me a medication that I was going to have to take for at least a month to calm my nervous system. I was surprised. After all, weren’t all my fears legit? How was an anxiety pill going to help with complications after a sickness? Well, I was wrong.

Anxiety pills are no joke. The side effects are sometimes unbearable, especially when you first start drinking it. However, I began to notice some positive changes, and decided to continue no matter how drowsy I felt. One week later, and it’s still a struggle not to fall asleep during the day. Sometimes I am tempted to stop, but what pushes me to carry on are the strange positive effects it has on my body. The pains and discomfort I used to experience are significantly better, and I no longer feel so anxious about never getting better. Although I am sleepy, it’s almost as if I can think more logically.

This got me thinking about whether or not this was a much deeper problem than just something I’d developed over the last couple of years due to sickness. I remember having horrible anxiety as a child, which is something I dismissed as the typical case of shyness. Now that I think back, it was definitely more than just that. However, as I entered my teen years, this anxiety began to bother me to the point that I forced myself out of my comfort zone so many times that it probably just went into “remission” on its own, and never looked back since. I didn’t want to think back to those years of my early childhood, let alone analyze them, so I just continued living normally up until a couple of years back.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but I got pretty sick in the summer of 2016. What made it worse is that it took the doctors about half a year to figure out what was wrong with me, and I was given an unpleasant (but definitely not fatal) diagnosis in December of that year. I took a couple of rounds of pills, but the symptoms just kept coming back. Every time I would feel a slight pain, fatigue or hint of nausea, I convinced myself that the sickness was back and I needed to go get checked. Moreover, I didn’t believe the doctors when they said that nothing was seriously wrong and that I would get better it time – according to my perception, I would be chronically sick for the rest of my life.

This began to take over my life, since I felt physically unwell nearly every single day. However, I had no idea that my mental state was affecting my physical one – I simply thought that I felt bad mentally BECAUSE I was not well physically, and didn’t consider that the first could cause the latter. When people told me to stay strong and positive, I looked at them as though they were crazy – how on earth was a change in attitude going to help me get out of this? My hypochondriac tendencies were completely normal in my eyes, and I felt as though nobody understood what I was going through.

Fast forward to now, and I am a hundred percent sure that I will finish drinking the whole monthly prescription of this unpleasant medication. Maybe I feel drowsy and get nasty migraines from time to time, but for the first time in my life I can acknowledge that I definitely experience symptoms of anxiety and probably have for my whole entire life. This pill is supposed to help me feel better and give my body a chance to cure itself without all of the nervousness that stopped it from doing so before; once I’m off it, I’ll be much more aware of whether my fears are logical or just something stemming from anxiety.

A lot of the time, we do not see the link between physical and mental health, but there is actually a really strong connection between the two; positive, passionate and mentally strong people are always the ones to get out of health problems the quickest, and is something I dismissed up until now.

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Gratitude

Gratitude is the number one new year’s resolution we all need. Sure, many people would like to get richer/fitter/healthier/happier, travel more, discover themselves, “find love” and so on and so on, but unless you are actually grateful for what you have now, none of those should be a priority. People are wired to constantly crave to improve their quality of life, and that’s pretty normal. After all, this desire is the first stepping stone to change if you actually act on it, but only focusing on these resolutions is wrong.

Looking back two years ago, I can say that I was hardly thankful for anything. Although I didn’t have any real problems, I ended up being this ungrateful, somewhat bratty eighteen-year-old who complained about EVERYTHING. Remembering the first months of 2016, I realize that I should have been so blissfully happy and appreciating every second of the close-to-perfect life I had. But then again, because I didn’t have any serious problems back then, I literally took everything for granted. If something didn’t go my way – even if it was the most minor thing – I would make a huge tragedy out of it and make sure to mention how everything always goes wrong for me. I suppose the absence of any genuinely serious issues is what caused me to be such a brat in the first place; I just didn’t know any better.

Fast forward two years: 2018, 20 years old and definitely much more tired, stressed and sometimes sad (for valid reasons). But at the same time, I am so incredibly thankful for learning the art of gratitude, which honestly makes up for a lot. Maybe if things stayed as smooth as they were back when I was 18, I would still be the same person – bored, permanently annoyed and bitching about every tiny thing that went wrong.

The “problems” I had back then were mostly due to me not knowing what to do with myself, being too lazy to do what I actually wanted to do with my life and getting into petty personal dramas. Being broke for a couple of weeks was a tragedy, going through a break-up after dating someone for a month or two was life ruining, and gaining half a kilo because I didn’t have time to work out for a few days meant that I would basically spend the next few days avoiding food and feeling miserable because OH MY GOD 500 extra grams. You know, just the usual superficial bullshit.

Little did I know that June 2016 would be the last month I felt comfortable. Without going into too much detail, I can say that the last two years have been so difficult – more difficult than I would like to share. Because I’ve always been that weird-funny-sociable person, many people – even the close ones – probably can’t even imagine the extent to which I’ve had to pick myself up over and over again just to not give up on things that I used to take completely for granted.

But this is not a “feel sorry for me” post – this is a lesson. Although I lost some things I didn’t even realize I had, I gained this incredible feeling of gratitude for everything good that is still in my life. And maybe some days are still bad, but I appreciate the good ones so much that they make up for anything that happened before. And when things get better, I know that I’m never ever going to take the good things I have for granted. I will never be depressed over petty things, procrastinate on the important stuff, or even miss opportunities just because I’m waiting for everything to be “perfect”.

So now, just take a moment to be grateful what you have right now, because good things are fickle and have the tendency to disappear if they are not appreciated. Happy 2018.

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Sometimes

Sometimes I really wish I could have a mentor. And yes, if you are thinking of a wise Buddhist middle-aged man, that’s exactly who I’m thinking of too.

On a serious note, it wouldn’t really matter what form my mentor would appear in. All I need is a wise individual who knows how to keep secrets. I would tell them all about my life, my goals, my problems, and they would use all of their wisdom and experience to help me do amazing things. Someone who would keep me motivated no matter what, tell me that everything will be okay and remind me to get my shit together when necessary. Someone who would remind me about all my responsibilities, but in a way that would be encouraging and not stressful at all. Someone who has been a mentor for months, and years and decades prior to meeting me, and would already know everything there is to know about helping people to focus on what they want and what they need to fix.

I know it seems fantastical, yet a person can dream. Think about it. Wouldn’t you prefer to have someone like that in your life? We’re all encouraged to be our own mentors, yet it gets so tedious that we start to go easy on ourselves in the most detrimental way possible. And when we do get our shit together, so to speak, we find ourselves in a bubble of stress and last-minute panic. I don’t know what the moral of this post is, but I’ll probably finalize it on the following note: if you are not lucky enough to have a mentor, try to be your own mentor (I guess). Imagine that you are two people instead of one, and encourage yourself as you would have liked to be encouraged by somebody else.

Damn it, can I at least have a mentor until 2018?

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Autumn Blur

Autumn is a very hazy time. Leaves fall, nature dies, and everything just seems to die with it. And yet, no matter how tired/sad/moody/indifferent I find myself feeling every autumn, it is definitely one of my favourite seasons.

I’m the type of person who weirdly enjoys feeling melancholic. When you are sad, you have the opportunity to rethink things, re-evaluate goals and gain a better understanding of who you are. Happiness, on the other hand, is like a professional camera with the brightness turned all the way up – in focus, yet unpleasantly blinding. Sounds pretty deep, but I did warn you that this season turns me into a weird existential mess. It’s not like I lie in bed all day: I still have university, with all its endless group projects and exams and assignments; I still have a part-time job; I still try to get my ass to the gym more or less regularly – as well as out, just to ensure that I still have a (more-or-less) good social life. Yet everything becomes blurred, sleepy, weird – unreal.

Time loses its grip during autumn. The days just seem to gradually grow from one to the next, without any particular feeling of what date it is, or even what hour of the day. In fact, I am almost convinced that Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice in Wonderland” based on how many experience the months of September, October and November – you have a vague idea of who you are, yet nothing around you seems to make sense.

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Non-coincidental Coincidences

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have come across my recent, rather lengthy post about the law of attraction (and if you haven’t, that can be easily corrected…hint). In that entry, it is mentioned how I recently “rediscovered” this law and decided to use it to my advantage – and with some results, for that matter. In spite of the fact that I’ve already experienced a bit of success with this mindset, not enough time has passed for me to give an honest account of exactly how effective it is; let’s just say that it seems to be working and I promise to elaborate later in September. Although I’m not going to go deep into “The Secret” just yet, I would like to give a somewhat peculiar account of what happened yesterday. But before we go any further, it’s best to give another back-story.

Ever since I can remember, there have been times where I would think about someone, or simply remember someone, and then suddenly bump into them shortly after. After initially assuming that these were simply coincidences, a trace of doubt began to set in when I realized that these were not people I saw or even thought about often (literally months would pass before I saw or even remembered these individuals). Sometimes, all it took was one vivid memory for me to bump into a certain individual later during the day, even if I hadn’t seen or spoken to them for ages.

Although this started happening more and more frequently, my mind continued to ignore law of attraction as a possible explanation. Maybe it was due to lack of belief, or simply the fact that the concept was stored somewhere in the back of my mind next to long division and embarrassing memories (i.e. intentionally forgotten things). Either way, I acknowledged the weirdness of these occurrences, but didn’t think into them too much. However, yesterday was different.

Last night, my friend and I were walking home from a concert, just talking about stuff. Yes, we were literally just discussing “life stuff” – remembering high-school, getting nostalgic over our teenager years and discussing old friends/boyfriends/almost-boyfriends and so on (and I know she reads by blog so I’m going to insert a small “hi” right here). You know, just normal gossip – nothing out of the ordinary.

However, what did end up being unusual was the fact that I literally saw some of the people we spoke about several minutes after mentioning them. Once again, I hadn’t actually seen these people in months, which made me think about how weird these coincidences were becoming. Only this time, instead of briefly freaking out, I began to consider that these might not be coincidences after all.

Now, let’s get back to the initial topic. According to the law of attraction, our thoughts and feelings have the ability to attract people/things into our lives. Likewise, we also have the ability to attract success with positivity or scare it away with negativity – something that I explained in more detail in my last post. Anyway, the point is that simply thinking about someone can cause you to randomly bump into them, especially if they are somewhere nearby. It’s almost as if the universe aligns itself in such a way that you end up in the same place (at the same time) as the person you remembered. Although either of you could have essentially chosen different routes, or taken slightly longer to get to that exact spot, that person becomes somewhat drawn to you via your thoughts alone. Literally magnetic.

End-note: I’m not claiming this to be a completely valid explanation, but remain pretty open to the idea of non-coincidental coincidences, which sounds mutually exclusive but strangely believable at the same time.

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The “Law of Attraction” in the Eyes of a Skeptic

The law of attraction – a peculiar premise that our thoughts have the power to attract positive or negative circumstances into our lives. Positive thinking sends off positive vibrations, attracting one’s desires, whilst negative thoughts attract more negativity. It’s all about the good vibes, bro.

Although I first watched “The Secret” in 9th grade math class (and remained vaguely impressed for a whole 24 hours until my 14 year old brain got distracted by food or some friendship group drama), I never really thought into the Law of Attraction up until now. Just as atheists reject prayer until the first airplane turbulence, or naive college girls continue to take nudes until the first phone hack, I remained pretty ignorant of this concept up until now. In other words, I didn’t consider utilizing this peculiar idea until it became absolutely necessary.

Before I continue, let me introduce a bit of a back story. Sadly, I’ve never been a particularly positive person, or a raging optimist, which means that I’ve always had a bit of a hard time dealing with problems – both emotionally and physically. However, I didn’t actively pursue change for several reasons:

  1. I didn’t experience any serious, long-term issues/discomfort that would require significant emotional and physical effort to deal with (oh, the good days…)
  2. I considered my often skeptical and somewhat pessimistic outlook to be a part of my personality – i.e. “I am who I am…yo”
  3. I’ve always been a bit lazy, to be perfectly real with you

Nonetheless, my life began to take a (wrong…WRONG!) turn back in 2015, meaning that two years later I found myself facing a multitude of different problems; it wasn’t a single floppy flower anymore, it was a whole bouquet of awful. As one trouble multiplied into several, my stress and anxiety levels also became much more…multiplied? Fast forward to summer 2017, I found myself weighed down with several issues – from health, to personal, to financial, to even existential (hello sly blog reference).

Following on, I decided I was pretty much done. It may sound cliché, but it honestly felt as though time had froze and nothing made sense anymore. I kept thinking to myself all over again that, after all these problems, “am I REALLY going to have to go through more problems?” It got to the point where I just decided that I was either hopelessly unlucky or cursed (or both). Why did everything keep going wrong? It almost seemed supernatural for a second, but then I remembered that I don’t do creepy.

So, after several days of wallowing in my own misery, I decided to do a bit of internet research as to why everything seems to be going wrong in spite of countless physical efforts. And you know what explanation kept popping up? That’s right, the good old “negative thinking”. As far as I can see, there are actually two types of negative thinking, with the first being very straightforward – “my life sucks, nothing ever goes right for me, nothing is going to get better”. In spite of the fact that I’m not the world’s biggest optimist, I don’t actually think like that on most occasions. However, I, alongside the majority of the world’s population, practice negative thinking in relation to certain problems.

For example, I have some health issues that don’t seem to be going away, and every time something comes up, my thoughts begin to drift into the direction of “damn, if these conditions haven’t gone away by now, they never will” or “I’m so tired of feeling sick”. Another example would be financial struggles – “oh man, this part-time job doesn’t suit my schedule, looks like I won’t be able to find a job that suits my schedule at all” or “my current freelancing job isn’t bringing in any money, I guess it will never be profitable again”. I can go on for ages, but it would be a waste of time – I think you already got the picture.

This is where the law of attraction comes in. After stumbling upon this concept once again, I decided to actually look into it a bit more extensively. I may not be an expert, but as far as I understand, our thoughts also emit vibrations. If we keep thinking negatively, we will attract more negativity into our lives; our health will deteriorate, we will remain broke and our personal lives will continue to go downhill. Negative thinking is understandable – not many people can remain hopeful when everything is pretty much crap. However, as we continue to respond negatively to our current circumstances, we continue to attract more negativity into our worlds, trapping ourselves in this cycle of never-ending problems.

The law of attraction suggests that, instead of thinking and responding negatively, we should practice positive thinking. But this is not the irritating type of positive thinking where your grandma sits you down and says “hey, just be happy you’re not a starving child in Africa” (yes I’m aware of that, but thinking that isn’t going to solve all of MY problems Grandma let’s just drink tea and watch the news instead ok how about that). No, this positive thinking consists of several strategies:

  1. Reminding yourself of what you want throughout the day – “I want to be healthy”, “I want to be wealthy”, “I want to attract good people into my life” etc
  2. Picturing that you already have all of this, and understanding it’s only a matter of time before you can experience and enjoy it (not only should you picture it, but you should also be certain of it)
  3. Believing that your current state is temporary and things will get better, as well as being grateful for what you already have

Nonetheless, you can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen – you should carefully determine all of the steps you need to take to achieve your desired life. Supposedly, the trick here is that sending out positive vibrations and “asking the universe to give you what you want” will bring everything to you in accordance with your efforts. At first you may not necessarily believe that it will work, but the key here is to repeat these positive thoughts over and over again until you start to see results.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no spiritualist or dedicated preacher – I’m pretty much the opposite. Unless I’ve done enough research to see that something is valid, my brain will never even consider it. But even as a skeptic, I have come across way too many success stories and rational explanations to doubt the law of attraction.

On a final note, I would like to express my gratitude towards the internet for allowing me to stumble upon this concept once again (good job google!). I may have only decided to utilize the law of attraction a couple of days ago, but I’m somewhat certain that my success story will also be added to the millions that already exist. From this point onward, I will do my very best to fix all of the problems that have accumulated over the past few years via not only action, but also positivity. This has been “The Law of Attraction” from a skeptic’s viewpoint – follow me to see how things unfold. I promise a 100% truthful account of my experience with this.

End-note: if you would like a more professional, accurate explanation, either watch “The Secret” or google/YouTube search “The Law of Attraction”. I’m only a rookie. Follow me?

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From The Heart

I haven’t posted anything for over a month – a result of several factors, I guess. In terms of significance, the two main reasons would be that I spent three quarters of this time lying on a beach in Greece, and the fact that I didn’t really know what to write about. You see, I’ve been pretty busy, but not necessarily in the best way. Apart from my (not-so) little vacation, things have been slightly…tricky?

The saying “not everything will go according to plan” is a popular one, yet we don’t always fully acknowledge it every time we make those plans. In our mind, everything seems logical and perfect – you take the following steps to obtain the following goals. But life is a messy, messy thing – for some more than others.

As far as I know, the majority of us have things we don’t wish to talk about, especially in detail, which is why we prefer to hide them from the world and build a much happier image of ourselves. However, this can be pretty detrimental since we end up feeling like only we are the ones who are going through some sort of mess, when in reality, very few people are as happy as they look in their Instagram pictures. Promise.

I’m less tolerant to discomfort; when things go wrong, I complain. No, it’s not because I’m ungrateful, but because I don’t think it’s necessary to try and hide normal human reactions. Listening to others’ advice can be good, but when my mum occasionally mentions that “things could be much worse” I can’t help but get slightly irritated. Following the logic, you should also consider that things could be much better, which is something I strive for. However, I also continue doing what I initially planned to do, since the universe is not about to wait for some 20-year-old female from a small country to sort her issues.

Life is hard, life is messy, and life loves to fuck you over sometimes. And the funniest part is that, until we die and see (or not) what the last several decades have been all about, we will never know why some individuals tend to get luckier, and some don’t. In my culture, it is a social sin to refer to yourself as “unlucky”, since there are always people who have it way worse. Also, many people are scared to refer to themselves as such, mainly because they think they will genuinely become unlucky.

If luck could be measured on a scale, I honestly don’t know where I would place myself. Since this is purely subjective, I don’t know whether it is an accurate assessment of the current state of affairs. I know that one’s quality of life depends on how much effort they put in, and I know for a fact that I put in a lot of effort. But there are also a lot of things that keep going sideways: from work, to health, to people, to general little unpleasant surprises. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very far from depressed, since I’ve got a lot to appreciate and a lot to look forward to. Not depressed or sad, just slightly tired. In fact, the problems I mentioned above are somewhat manageable; they just require dedication and patience. I guess I’m in the process of accepting that everything is always much more picturesque in our head; we see an empty highway instead of what is actually there – a long, winded maze.

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