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  • Writer's picturekpphoto25

Anxiety : A story about the battle

This is far from photography related but at the same time it is a part of me. I'm sure it contributes to the way I shoot and the way I see things in some form. What is it? Anxiety. The dreaded word that starts with an A and ends with a "why". I find it peculiar that the last letter of the word is similar to the question you ask yourself over and over as you go thru an episode. I've been dealing with this condition of the mind for 20 years. Its been with me so long that it is hard to remember a time when it wasn't a part of me. Childhood, pre-teen, and teen were times that I know I had a clear mind and absolutely no concern for things that were out of my control. Sometime around 18 or 19 is when it all starts to become a blur.

Some days are ok. Some weeks are ok. The trouble is trying to remember what "OK" actually is......or was. When you adapt to having anxiety you tend to assume it is a normal part of life to constantly feel on edge or worry about signals your body are throwing off. These signals are usually the ones that make you feel with all your being that something is wrong.

Something is off.

Your health is in danger.

Why is my heart racing?

Why do I feel light headed?

I need to move from this location.

Make sure those people don't notice.

Play it off and keep you cool externally.

These are a few of the things that run thru your mind when that wave comes back. The wave always comes back. I think of it as the ocean. There is a 0% chance that you can control the wave and you know that it will always come to shore. I have found that attempting to ride the wave instead of control it tends to help ease the feeling of dread. Just accept what you are feeling and find your own unique way to adapt it into what you are doing. You will never be able to control the wave but you can learn to ride it for a bit.

Here is a picture from the back window of my home. Sometimes the sky will light up even tho there is darkness all around. I find this as natures mirror into the mind. Everything around us can mimic everything inside of us if we look hard enough.

Now, on to the medical side if you will. I don't take medicine. I don't even take Tylenol for the occasional headache. I was prescribed Paxil well over a decade ago and I had a crazy reaction to it. Just a few pills in and I woke up in the middle of the night sweating like I was in a sauna. My vision was flickering to the point it reminded me of an old black and white film. Just frame by frame and very precise. I literally had to crawl to the bathroom because my body was not wanting to function normally. This was the first time that I had ever felt like "this is it, this is the end". I felt like I was on fire or something. The strangest part is that as soon as I made it to the bathroom, I reached up and turned the lights on, and BAM! The entire feeling went away. It was like flipping a switch, figuratively and literally I suppose.

This pretty much scared me away from pharmaceuticals. I have quite the collection of herbal concoctions and remedies that I use off and on but again.......I'm just not one for medicine. I don't like the idea of being bound to a pill every waking day. This goes for herbal medicine too. I should probably learn to accept that I may need something to function "normally", whatever that means.

I have learned that lot of my friends and mutual friends are medicated in some shape or form. I was unaware that anxiety had afflicted so many people, and so many people that I personally know. For most of us, we tend to hide it and pretend it isn't there. It can be quite embarrassing to admit to people that you are a bit of a loose screw. We want to feel in control of our lives and feel like we are part of the pack. This is probably a primal feeling if I had to guess. You would not want to show weakness in the early years of humanity, especially as a male. That would have gotten you killed. I also feel that modern life is making it worse. The rapid pace of technology advancement and all of the unnatural light and sounds we are soaking up everyday has to play a role.

Anxiety was something that I had never heard anyone speak of until around 2000-2004ish. No one in my family had ever spoken of it. I never heard any of my childhood friends or their parents speak of it or even grandparents. Was this just them hiding it? Or is this a newer condition being brought on by the rapid changing world we are now in? If you were born in the 80s/90s or before, I can bet that your parents and grandparents never had a prescription for SSRI's. Why is that? This is a legitimate question that I have.

Here is a quick photo I took in the bathroom a day after going to the ER for chest pains.

In this moment I had a moderate feeling of "something is wrong". You know what this is if you have anxiety. I feel it is important to speak up about it. Make yourself uncomfortable and admit to the world that you are not part of the pack so to say. Show yourself to the world even if you feel vulnerable. Hiding in the dark is not very healthy and will only lead to more problems.

I could talk about this for days and days but I would rather not. I want to get past it and somehow become a bit more functional. I don't want to pass up a friend asking to hang out. I don't want to push off getting a chore done because it involves actually getting off the couch. I don't want to talk to a family member once a year because they live too far away. And mostly, I don't want to pretend that I am something I am not. In a world of competition and status we all fall victim to the grind. It is not natural be in a constant state of whatever society deems normal. I can assure you that scrolling on your phone for 6-8hrs a day is not normal. Knowing what that kid you talked to once in high school ate for dinner and also knowing where he stand politically is not normal. Cramming 2 years of information into your head in 2 minutes is not normal.

I am far from perfect but if I could give anyone some advice out there who is on the same road as me, it would be this.......Who cares where the road leads.......just drive the car. It is not important to know what is around the curve and there is no need to look in the mirror at what you just passed up.

Just drive.

-KP 2020


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