Hello, Old Friend.

That old ‘friend’ of mine is back again. Anxiety. She’s a bitch. She makes my heart palpitate, she keeps me awake at night, and at times she leaves me feeling nauseous. She impedes my interaction with people and hampers my day-to-day life.

I had an attack before I went for my Redang trip. I was trying to contact an interviewee via email, and she didn’t respond for well over three weeks while my deadline loomed closer and I had to gear up for my trip. I couldn’t even contact her because email was the only avenue I had. The result? I couldn’t enjoy my work-holiday coz I was constantly worrying about how to get what I needed for my story. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s not being able to complete a task properly.

I had to painstakingly screenshot pictures from her Instagram, hoping that they’d be high-resolution enough for print. When I finally had enough materials (no thanks to said interviewee), then and only then could I breathe easy. It was like a few weeks of being in hyper mode – never resting, pacing all the time, mind racing constantly.

Anyway. My editor threw me a task to do today, which involves me looking for photos of deceased Malaysian ‘heroes’. Problem is, it’s not as easy as just Googling, which I know a lot of lazy people do these days – I have to find pictures that are high resolution, and usable without any copyright issues. Since our national online archives are sht when it comes to digital collections, I have to physically go to the National Archives and see what I can find. Exacerbating my anxiety is the fact that my digital writer told me most of these pics are old, and are probably unavailable in digital format. The only way to get them is to scan them – which I’m worried won’t be usable for our publication.

Anddddd the effects are all coming again – the heart palpitation, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, unable to think properly without constantly worrying, affecting sleep.

I don’t really know what it stems from. Insecurity? The inability to complete tasks? Feelings of worthlessness and helplessness?

How can I function like a normal human being?

It really doesn’t help that people I’ve tried to reach out to don’t understand. They think I’m being weak and that it’s really something I should just suck up and get over with because ‘stress is part of life’. Same goes for when I want to share thoughts on my depression. Them shutting me down means I withdraw more and more into my own little shell, unable to trust that the next person I try to spill my heart out to won’t just turn around and say it’s ‘all in my head’.

Nobody wants to be in this state all the time. I have to learn to build a coping mechanism without seeing a quack. I’ve been to one, and it didn’t work lol.


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