Anxiety: The Demon Inside

Hi there my beautiful lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed me to reflect on my life and helped me to become more grounded. However, I have not been like this all my life. It took some long self-reflection and perspective change to bring me to this point. Today, I will share with about the little demon inside of me and how I finally defeated it.


If you remember, I have always mentioned my struggle with anxiety without elaborating much on the topic. However, thanks to your support I have now learned to finally stare straight at the demon and move on. I have been fighting with anxiety since I can remember; whether worrying about the worst possible outcome each time my parents went out and was running late; or having panic attacks before every midterms and finals. However, I couldn’t talk to anyone about my feeling because I grew up in a culture where mental health is a stigma. In that culture you are either insane or sane, and there are no grey areas. I was always told that I was in control of my mind and there was no such thing as depression or anxiety because we can just control them at our wills and those only exist because doctors can make money.


With such beliefs being pushed around me, I always felt trapped inside. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest all the time. I could not breath. Since I could remember, I was always very skinny and prone to sickness, and was a complete introvert. It was a big struggle for me to open up to people. Little that I knew at that time that my constant sickness was a manifestation of my mental health image-20150609-10747-18vzvsiissues, which has increased my cortisol level. As a kid, I always spent my days in my own world, afraid of self-expression and opening up. I wanted to be and made myself invisible.

Anxiety mental health symbol isolated on white. Mental disorder icon design

In high school, I made friends but there has always been a part of me who kept to herself and kept everything bottled up. I could not figure out why I was so prone to panic attacks. I always thought of myself as a fizzy drink inside a tightly closed bottle, which has been shaken to the point that it will burst out at any moment. I was a prisoner inside my own self.


My dear lovelies! I grew up with the thinking that everything wrong within me was my own fault. I was too stupid and cowardly to conquer whatever was going on inside. I  was trapped and was going through a period of learned helplessness, unable to find a way out and feeling trapped in my misery. It was not until my twenties when I realized how trapped I was. It was during that time, I found my answer. I was in clinical research and found out about this study helping healthcare workers, such as nurses and clinical staffs to deal with stress.

My boss was the principle investigator and asked me to join the class without enrolling as a participant. I couldn’t officially join the study, since it would been a conflict of interest and investigator bias. I just attended class every morning. It was during one of those classes that I realized how much trapped I really was inside. During one of the sessions, we were told to close our eyes, do some guided meditations, and then let our hand draw whatever it wants with our eyes closed and mind open. Consequently, that exercise opened up our right side of the brain, the more free and creative side. To be honest, I didn’t realized before this, how much I have imprisoned my right brain. We as our rational self always tend to use our left brain, which is responsible for logic, and rationality.


My dear lovelies! It is thought that people prefer one type of thinking over the other. For example, a person who is “left-brained” is thought to be more logical, analytical, and objective. A person who is “right-brained” is said to be more intuitive, creative, emotional, thoughtful, and subjective. My upbringing and childhood made me a complete left-brained person. It was during that guided session that I was able to bring out my right-brain from hiding. What my drawing that day showed me was eye-opening and it changed the trajectory of my life. When I opened my eyes, I saw a drawing of a girl wearing straitjackets – unable to free herself and fly. The girl had her mouth stitched shut, her eyes shut closed and she was inside a cage. When I was told to talk about my painting, I became very emotional and couldn’t stop but cry. It was the group support I received that day that opened me to a new possibility.


It was for the first time I realized that what I was going through doesn’t need to be locked up inside. I could for the first start looking at it from a nonjudgmental way through the support of my peers. I was ready to begin my journey towards mindful living. Even though those sessions taught me to become more aware of myself, there was still a part of me who wanted to be locked out. The reasoning behind this was my long term belief that change is bad and hard, and keeping myself locked up would protect me from the harsh world. It was five to six more years before I learned to be nonjudgmental. What changed at that time was my six weeks of mindfulness meditation course.  I signed up for the course because I wanted to help out sick patients and their families. Little that I knew that it will help me so much instead.


What I have learned during those six weeks freed me completely. I learned to use my right brain more often and be present more in the moment. I started to enjoy not only my climbs but the who journey towards that climb. I was more appreciative of myself. Before, every hard conversation, I learned to take a deep breath to center myself. My heart started to feel lighter. I was more aware of myself, and I started to respect the person I saw in the mirror.


My dear lovelies! My life has not been always a smooth sailing since the six week course. I became caught up in life. The loss of several of my loved ones to cancer made me more anxious. I started to feel trapped again. I became, irritable, and moody. It was hard for my family to have nice conversation with me. I was slowly drifting away into the sea of misery and anxiety. I became more hopeless and judgmental about myself. I was no longer happy with the person I saw in the mirror. I started to lose everything. It was during that time I have started to take out my frustration through shopping, and before I knew it, I have racked up a hefty credit card balance, it was at that time my mom sat me down and told me to get some help. My sister was very open and supportive. It was their supports that allowed me to get some help. It was 3 years ago, when I decided to see a counselor and then go on FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) just to reflect on my life. It was then I decided to take the next step in my life, I left my work, where I worked for over 10 years. I was not happy with the person that I was becoming while I was in my third position in that company during that time. I started a new position outside for the first time in 10 plus years.


My lovelies! I cannot emphasize the value of support when it comes to dealing with anxiety and depression. It was in new position, where I found so much nurturing and support from my team. Before, I knew it, I gained 20 pounds in weight, and was trying to loose some in the process. It took a year more before I felt like myself again.


It was not until last year when I started to become overpowered by the demon again. Last year, I started a new job and was having a hard time to adjust. Before I could begin to settle down both my parents and I were in horrible car accidents weeks apart. I ended up taking a short-term disability as I recovered. I was also put on anti-anxiety medication. My beautiful lovelies, before I knew it, we were bombarded by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the same time, my mom became extremely sick with lingering pneumonia, and worsening lung damage. I was devastated-. However, I knew what to do, my daily deep breathing and became more aware of myself.


You see my lovelies! My journey with generalized anxiety syndrome has been a long one with lots of ups and downs, but it has taught me how transient life is.  What the unpredictability of the current situation taught me is that life is too short to worry about every small thing in life. If we get too caught up with what could have been and could be, we will miss out on what is out there. My journey has taught me to take a deep breath every now and then and take in the good surrounding me. I paint more and meditate. Even though I am more sleepless than ever but I am not tired. I am aware of my surroundings. I am learning every day. I may not have complete control of stress and anxiety, but at least I know to stop and tell myself “relax a little”.


I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I had writing it. My dear lovelies! Believe it or not, it is your support and my family and friends that have kept me going. Now that I am back to blogging regularly, I can pour myself in the process. My family and you keep me grounded. If I have not said this before, I am saying it now, “Thank you my beautiful lovelies. Thank you for your constant support”. I would love to hear from you and what, if any, mental health symptoms have you experienced and you are dealing/dealt with it.


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