5 Signs that you might be experiencing anxiety disorders: Are you feeling anxious all the time?
Having to deal with anxiety all the time, I am sure that there are many of you out there who are feeling the same. It did not happen overnight or due to one event, but as a result of a series of events. Initially, I thought it would only be temporary; I was not aware of how profound it could be.
It all started with a decision I made for myself. Thinking it would be for the best for myself, I decided to serve in one of the toughest military units in Singapore.
Although many dreamed of serving in it, I was definitely not cut out for it. Starting out, we had to meet high fitness standards, train until the wee hours, and endure long and endless training cycles. Even though I wasn’t physically strong, I certainly struggled with psychological barriers.
The truth of the matter is that I was perpetually anxious, filling my mind with various scenarios of how I could get injured as well as how hard it would be to come out alive. For a significant chunk of my basic military training (BMT), it made it difficult to concentrate on training and made me want to quit.
In order to overcome my limiting beliefs, I suppressed my own emotions and didn’t let them creep into my head. As trainees, we had a famous belief that mental strength was more important than physical strength in order to succeed in tough training.
It was true to a certain extent, but this was facilitated by scrambling to meet unreasonable demands and being acclimatized to anxiety and fear. Keeping motivated through alternative means and being driven to achieve results kept me on my toes.
My anxiety pangs kicked in whenever I failed to meet certain expectations or anticipated failing to do so and it was something outside my control. My fear of not being able to meet expectations was like a little devil that held on to my soul and commanded me to make sure I met them or it would torture me to death.
This was enough to keep me awake all night, and the thoughts that ran through my mind made my heart race faster than usual. I could hear my clock ticking, which was surprisingly slower than my heartbeat.
Following my National Service, I took the bold move of taking a gap year while my peers happily enrolled themselves in their undergraduate studies. It wasn’t something that I had planned to do, but a year later I enrolled in another university course.
My decision felt abrupt and ultimately left me feeling left out when everyone else was enjoying their time in school. Having my path different from the one the guys usually take, which would be to study for their bachelor's after they leave the military, was stressful for me.
It was uncomfortable every time someone asked me about my life, and even more anxious when I was unable to answer since I wasn’t certain that the gap year was necessary.
Having trouble figuring out my own life gives me anxiety, and I always hope that feeling will eventually subside. If you have guessed it, you are right. This feeling didn’t go away and continued to worsen.
By the time I enrolled in university, I had already set my goals to find a career I will eventually find fulfillment in. Being back in school after 3.5 years was not the easiest for me, especially when I was 20 when I last entered a class. The first few weeks of school had been going smoothly until I had a paper fail.
Everything I promised my parents did not come true, and I became a victim of a nightmare. Since I was a year behind my peers in my studies, I was supposed to focus on my studies. As a result of poor performance, I struggled with anxiety pangs, eventually leading to severe insomnia.
Once, I had to request some flu medicine from my clinic because I had “dirty” sleep hygiene. To make sure I would be drowsy enough to sleep without being too affected by it, the doctor gave me half the prescribed dosage.
In those days, I could vividly recall taking naps constantly because I had trouble focusing, and those naps were a great way for me to escape from my problems. Aside from being restless, I easily lose my mood to fun and exciting things because my mind is constantly occupied with worry and anxiety.
I worry a lot about many things, from relationships to the things I’m juggling that never fail to make a dent in my already heavy plate. My problems eventually led to me being heavily intoxicated, which I initially believed could solve them.
Even now in 2022, I know it is something that didn’t happen overnight, so I wouldn’t expect it to disappear quickly. In my mind, this was just the result of me not being able to handle stress, not having a diagnosis of mental illness.
Although some people may have wondered whether these symptoms were indicative of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), it is indeed very common and we shouldn’t worry too much about it.
When I think back over the past events, if I had been able to speak to someone who understands or who could listen, I could have expressed my fears and concerns and not confided them in bottles.
Having someone to talk to could help offload some of your worries, and I think we should allow ourselves some time to relax. Although I could not say that everything was under control, I picked up the courage, to be honest with myself and confronted the problem.
If you think you are alone with this issue, now you have me because I was a victim of my anxiety and am still doing my best to overcome it.
Be in control of your own emotions and never let them get the better of you when the situation is not within your control.
About The Author:
Vince Law is an Accountancy graduate from Singapore Management University. Having a keen eye for numbers and a bent for problem-solving, he is currently working as a business consultant at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms, focusing on both consulting and assurance. During his free time, he writes on topics related to personal development and current affairs through his lens.
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