Facing anxiety

Bahar Orang
October 10, 2013
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

I find myself constantly worrying about the future. Where am I going? What will happen after I graduate? Will I ever be able to figure it all out?

What are my passions? How am I going to make money? Will I be a sellout? Will I be okay with that? Who am I going to be in five years? How many regrets will I have?

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Will I make the right decisions? What are the right decisions? What are even my options? Will I ever shake this feeling that I need something more? Will I ever truly be content with my life? Will I ever live up to my potential? What even is my potential? Will I ever forgive myself for my past mistakes? How much will those mistakes affect my future?

What’s my GPA? Why does my life revolve around my GPA? What if I had spent more time on that one stupid essay? Would I have more opportunities now? Have I already fucked everything up?

Will I be mediocre? Is there anything wrong with being mediocre? Does mediocre even mean anything? Should I be going out more? Should I be going out less? Am I a disappointment? To myself? To my family?

Should I worry about wrinkles and wear more sunscreen? Why does everyone seem to have all their shit figured out? What’s wrong with me? Am I just slower than everyone else? Do I just take longer to realize what’s important?

Does it even matter? Does any of it even matter? Aren’t we all just tiny, insignificant specks in a gigantic and relentlessly futile universe where none of our lives will ever truly amount to anything and in only a matter of decades I will be erased from the earth, totally forgotten? So why do I take myself so seriously?

I feel like there’s something chasing me all the time. I feel like it’s always been chasing me, but it’s been too far behind for me to worry except for some random, unperiodic panic attacks. But recently, I’ve slowed my pace, or maybe this thing that’s chasing me has started moving faster. Either way, I know that it’s gaining on me and that very soon it’s going to consume me whole. When I’m reading or writing or drinking or in the middle of a yoga pose, my heart beats unusually fast and I succumb to a kind of anxiety that erupts from the very pits of my gut and spreads to my shoulders and knees and fingertips and even slow, deep breaths don’t do any good. I ask myself, is this an emotional breakdown? And then I only want to scream, “ENOUGH WITH THE QUESTIONS!!!”

Everyone tells us that we’re overreacting, that we have time to figure it out, that we should enjoy these years. And everyone mocks the twenty-somethings and finds us vain, arrogant, self-indulgent, dramatic, immature, ignorant, ungrateful and exploitative of technology.

But school, is hard. Figuring out your life, is hard. In my brain, I understand that I have time to make mistakes and learn from them. But in my stomach, in my heart, in that place where fears, insecurities, mental health issues, paranoia, and anxiety (damn that anxiety) are all produced – I feel like time is running out, and that my life is a ticking bomb, and that if I don’t find the perfect solution to all these so-called imaginary problems immediately, I will be a failure.

And then I sometimes wonder if ambition is overrated. I spent long stretches of time this past summer being gloriously lazy and carefree. I went for long runs and long picnics. I learned how to paint and then I spent many nights awake painting and slept in like it was Saturday and the day after my last exam. I only read when I felt like it. I wasted a lot of money on brunch. I spent hours in the kitchen cooking Indian dinners. But everyone around me was moving, doing, studying, accomplishing. I felt guilty.

Did all their movements and accomplishments mean that their summers were inherently more meaningful? And mine was silly and frivolous?

What if there was a freak accident and the world was wiped and tomorrow we were all lying in our deathbeds? Would I regret my indolence?

When I am in my most meditative state, when I feel old and wise and can see clearly – I decide no.

I decide that in the minutes leading up to my death, I would probably wish for just one more morning where I could wake up after 10 and make a giant cup of coffee and sip it until lunch while rereading Harry Potter.




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