“Anxiety, anxious… – you hear everywhere. But what is that? It is not a disease, but a condition, when you get lost inside of your mind and can’t find the exit.” – Andrii Dolinskyi
Anxiety and Elevator
The gazes of strangers standing in a hallway are stabbing his back. Their eyes are like little daggers thrown at him in the way that he could not even possibly dodge them. The sharp danger is becoming more and more real as he turns around. He notices that all of the people are watching him as if they wished him to fail. The pressure begins to grow, and at some point, it would become unendurable if they don’t stop.
He starts to feel trapped like a moose in a frozen forest whose life is hunted by those tireless hunters. The exit is close because it’s the hallway on the first floor. Just thirty meters, and he can escape. Instead of going with all of the enemies inside the elevator, he can run to the door, open it swiftly, and inhale that astounding fresh air.
On the other hand, he should go up and enjoy the commodities of society. But there is no air and more hunters with dagger eyes on upper floors. When the elevator arrived and emptied in a jiff, it was time to make a decision. Are you in or out?
From one side, it’s a simple task performed by millions of individuals around the world every day. On the other hand, it’s so stressful and scary. But the fear or anxiety is not due to the phobia of elevators or closed space. No! It’s something much more profound and more disturbing.
His face turns red. Through the shirt, he can feel the drops of sweat dripping down his back. The heart rate increases significantly. The breathing becomes more and more difficult. He feels like fainting, accepting that he failed in front of the hunters who succeeded in chasing him down.
He realizes that entering the box filled with his assailants is not the best idea. It will be worse upstairs as the chances of running away would be miserable, and the chances of feeling sicker are higher. He pushed himself to be strong and get inside of that evil matchbook. At first glance, it seems okay. But inside, he feels the eruption of a volcano. The heart is even faster than a moment ago, and the vision is blurred now.
Everyone has already pressed their buttons, and the lift is ready to depart. He experiences dizziness, and his legs are fragile. When the door is almost closed, he pushes the button with a trembling hand to prevent it from shutting. He rushes to the exit, opens the glass gate, and inhales the fresh air. Anxiety is gone. He can be free for a while.
One day from the life of an anxious person
The day started very early for him. He woke up because of the hunger swirling in the middle of the stomach. But the real reason for awakening was not the compelling desire to have food swallowed down the throat. The real reason was the phobia of fainting and, as a result, dying because of hunger.
His heart rate is more or less steady, but the palms of the hands are too sweaty. The silence and the light snoring of the spouse are cutting his ears. The cars, making small noise outside the window, make him crazy. The smell of a humidifier from the living room makes him sick. The clock on the wall rushes from one second to another and forces him to stand up.
He feels dizziness electrifying the nerves from his neck down to the bottom of his abdomen. He wants to throw up, but the stomach is empty. The hunger mixes up with nausea. Anyway, he still decides to eat as the signals of void in the belly become unbearable. He fries a couple of eggs very quickly and grabs a jar of beans from the top shelf of the kitchen closet. The breakfast is ready.
He checks the heart rate on his left hand. It’s slightly elevated because of the phobia to die of hunger. He eats in a rush. And with every bite, he feels sicker. Less hungry, but sicker.
Suddenly, he stands up and hastens to the bathroom. He can’t maintain his mouth shut anymore. He holds on to the sink while puking inside of it. Some eggs and beans are out. They are free now, but not him. He is shackled not only to the sink but to his fears and own miserable existence. And such existence causes him constant anguish, which he doesn’t know how to halt.
After brushing his teeth and switching on the TV, he lies down comfortably on the couch. TV helps immensely. It’s like a lullaby for him. Even though the entire body is still shaking, tremors, weakness, and dizziness are going away slowly. The doctor told him previously that there were no physical problems and that he should see a psychologist.
He thought that his liver was failing because of morning pukes, but various lab tests were negative. Then he thought that he had heart failure. And again, the cardiogram showed no heart abnormalities. And after that, he thought that he had a COPD or other lung-related disease because sometimes he used to have a sharp pain in the chest. The results were all negative. His physical health is perfect.
It seems that he got lost in his own mind. He is lodged in a phobia of threats to his health and dying. But he has a best friend who can come to the rescue. Not the therapist or expensive pills. Not social life or family and close friends. But the
Is he condemned to spend the rest of his life this way? Being trapped and tortured by his phobia, fears, and anxiety. Has the ordeal of a constant anxious state become an exasperating burden? How long is this going to last? Just a few years ago, he was fine. Now he can’t even leave his home. Is he entirely alone in this world? Abandoned to suffocate in his own misery.
According to the recent statistical data, there are over 970 million people in the world suffering from a mental illness or substance use disorder. Out of this number, 284 million individuals live with different types of anxiety disorders.
The interesting thing is that most of the anxious society resides in well-developed countries. The percentage of individuals with anxiety living in third world states is predominantly lower compared to the rate of individuals with anxiety living in countries with developed economies. The US is among the leaders in the rating. Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million Americans, which is almost 20% of the total population.
And the scariest thing is that this anxious condition has become a social problem. The numbers of people who report it and who prefer to keep it to themselves are increasing significantly with each year. Just a century ago, nobody heard of anxiety. And nobody even discussed mental disorders due to the stigma. Civilizations were busy with wars and pandemics. There was no anxious society.
But rapidly growing technological progress changed everything. The invention of TV, the Internet, and other luxurious commodities which were designed to ease and entertain lives began the era of anxious society. Of course, urbanization, overpopulation, and constant need for money spurred the process.
As of today, everyone is worried about something. Do I earn enough to pay the mortgage? Does my hair look nice today? Did I park the car in the right place? Is my boss going to be in a good mood today? Will I be on time to pick up kids from school? Do I have a healthy social life?
The level of disturbance of each question can fluctuate between small, moderate, and high. And a high level of disturbance can cause even a panic attack, which feels similar to a heart attack.
And the problem with this is not the outcome or finding solutions. The problem is that anxiety is a maze inside the brain. It is almost impossible to find the exit. Every day is a struggle between a person and their mind. Only tough ones can succeed in total recovery and have a happy life.
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