I haven’t been doing well lately.
This is hard for me to admit, because I never want to add to the worries of anyone I love. And they worry. A lot. I have this outwardly calm exterior—some of my
friends have even described me as “chill”—but it’s hiding the turmoil inside.
That sounds a lot darker than I’d intended. I am happy a lot of the time, and I have lovely friends and family. I’m getting a quality college education and know where my passions lie. Outwardly, my life is set. But after a two-week absence (because of a major illness), my anxiety decided to rear its ugly heads again. The Hydra monster is back at it.
Fortunately, I’ve been teaching myself how to be okay, and even have fun, while the Hydra monster is shouting at me from all of its different heads. And I have to say, it usually helps if I’m with other people.
A couple weekends ago, my dad visited me at school, and even though this was right as my illness was tapering off and my anxiety’s heads were waking up, we had an absolute blast. We went out to dinner to eat sushi, got some books from my favorite bookstore (and pet the fluffy cats there!), searched through a cool record store and found some CDs costing 50 cents, and got ice cream at a new shop near my apartment.
It was a near-perfect day. The whole time I was with my dad, I forced my anxiety down, told it who was boss. That felt good. Better than I expected. Telling my anxiety to fuck off is something that I rarely do, and I’m not sure why. I guess it’s
pretty persuasive, what with all those heads while I only have one. My anxiety has the advantage of playing into my fears and insecurities; it knows me too well. The Hydra monster is strong, but not stronger than I am. I’ve spent too long cutting off heads only for more to sprout, and now I’ve got to go in for the plunge. I’ve got to get at its heart. If I don’t believe my anxiety, if I don’t let it tell me what to do, I win.
I’ve done it several times since, going to Chipotle with friends later than I usually would (and I even homework left to do!) and letting last-minute plans pass through my “rigid” schedule. I got a public library card to allow myself guilt-free book reading time. I even took a night off
just to read for fun while watching The Great British Bake Off.
But this is all easier said than done. I wish a few instances of defeating my anxiety meant I could defeat it all the time, but it’s an endless battle. Sometimes I have the upper hand, and sometimes I don’t. Right now, I just don’t.
That’s okay; I’ll still keep fighting. I’ll make tea, watch fun Netflix shows, read books I enjoy, exercise, and spend time with my friends. These are my weapons. I can finally admit I can’t fight this all on my own, and you know what? If I build an army of friends, family, and therapists, the Hydra monster can’t win forever.