Unmasking the Masked: The Reality of Anxiety

My dear readers, this is a tale.

Once upon a time, there was a young woman in her early 20s. She has achieved a lot in life- with her adventurous college years coming to end with her greatest achievement: with honors. She has worked hard enough to battle poverty to finally come to a place where her career takes off for her to be stable.

She has been through a lot, with so many scars to mark her battles, that the concept of mental illness is so foreign to her. She believes that you can control your mind to handle pressure; it is just a matter of who has enough will to do so. And boy, she was really confident in hers.

Until one day, that is, a series  of unfortunate events has made her, one of the greatest warriors, to admit defeat.

First, the denial. You think of other illnesses that may be associated with what is happening to your body. There are times when you feel sick and unable to eat, or how your heart palpitates and you can’t breathe. The tests will usually come back fine with no alarming results, leaving the doctors puzzled because they can see that there is still something wrong with you.

I did not expect that it will also be the trigger to other health issues as well, but that’s just the thing with anxiety- the more you deny it, the more it makes its presence known, like a weed that grows no matter how much you try to make your garden appear perfect. It is frustrating that it gnaws on you when you fight it out.

I was filled with anger and pity. You look for events and people to blame. You backtrack on happenings and ask yourself why you; because no matter how much try to calm down, you just can’t. You end up pointing the finger back to yourself as nobody will ever get what it feels like and it’s probably your fault. It drains you of your dreams, snuffing out the light and leaving you in the dark with your worst thoughts. It drowns you with doubt, and you can’t float even when you know how to swim.

A mixture of feelings, a roller coaster ride. It is exhausting, not only to your soul and mind but to your body. It never lies, but you pretend anyway. You pretend that it is just one of the other sickness that you have. You pretend it is nothing; when indeed it is everything. Poor you, so alone, in a world where your downfall will not be justified or recognized because there will always be someone who has it worst that you and you should be thankful.

Thankful, for your threshold breaking, a threshold that should I remind you is different for each one of us, and is therefore immeasurable. If it were that simple, we shouldn’t even be having these problems in the first place.

The acceptance is made after long hours at the hospital, going from doctor to doctor and experiments to verify that it is indeed what it is. Even in our progressive world, we are still so sensitive about giving the final stamp to any mental illness, especially ones that are easily claimed when one is in distress or sad. We label our moments, normal humane moments that showcase our feelings with terms that should deserve attention than just not being okay.

As a working adult, you learn how to deal with the meetings on your own. I don’t know if I love the long hallways at the hospital, or if it feels a little too crowded with everyone having anyone else. It is quite a shame to check yourself in or to practically drag yourself to the hospital in the midst of a panic attack, with your work clothes on looking so important, your coat so crisp, and yet you are like a child again, holding your chest because you just can’t breathe.

I think, the hardest has been seeing the way your doctors look at you because they know your condition. They are not puzzled with it like others are, and as professionals they recognize that you are probably tired. It becomes a little bit easier to accept it after that. They ask you about your job, your lifestyle, trying to pinpoint the cause why you are breaking down at such age- and deep inside, you know but refuse, of course, to share it with anybody else.

And then the treatment. I cannot say it is healing; maybe my anxiety itself does not recognize it. I have, though, learned that the best way to deal with it is to know that it is an endless battle you face every single day. That’s the thing with mental illness- when your mind is sick, you cannot just target the sickness and expect it to be done. The drugs, yes, they do help. I have been fascinated by how even experts are reluctant to prescribe sedatives, but it’s a name I have lived with. Sedatives to calm you down, sedatives to make you sleep, just the right amount. Not too much, not too little, for the mind is already fragile. It is already broken, held on together with the tapes you put on it every time you overcome the struggle of a breakdown. The lines are visible; they are there, they will never fade.

You continue with life as it is. You go to work daily to sustain your expenses. Some days, you feel free of it- hopeful even- but in truth it is a chain that you must carry and learn how not to let it suffocate you. It is definitely okay to say you’re not okay- a cliché, perhaps, but the most useful one.

People with anxiety wear masks all the time, because we have to show face that we are still fighting, still living, still breathing; even when sometimes, we find that we are out of it.

It is about embracing that you are flawed and you will be for the rest of time- but broken things are often so beautiful, are they not?

// hrhjeshea

A Judgment of Character

The amazing thing about people is that time doesn’t really measure how much you know them.

It’s confusing to see people you’ve known for years to become a stranger to you.

Or someone you are with to somebody you used to know.

It’s crazy to witness an unmasking of a fear you never really know was there, a pride that was always in its slumbers. A sadness that you have never noticed even through the mirrors of the soul.

Or a laughter that was always behind a poker face. A laughter behind all the anger. Beauty under the darkness.

We cannot blame people for changing, because in most times, they never did change. It’s only about how they have chosen to reveal themselves to you, and how you have managed to unveil them.

Sometimes, it’s about who you are to them and they to you.

// hrh

Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

There are a lot of questions in my head right now, and I can assume you ask yourself the same. Why is life so ironic? Why is everything complicated?

Like for instance: If you ask someone about the color of the sky, they will intend to explain it in a most scientific way possible, pairing it with facts, because that is how it really works. But have you ever wondered why the answer just can’t be as simple as the way you answer a 2-yr-old kid and say, “God painted the sky blue on the 2nd day.”

Alas, my friend, the truth is that even though we know a lot about the world, we are still blinded by reality. There are things beyond what we see, and this is the reason why we blame fate and God for the happenings in our lives, for we have no assurance of anything even if we try to do everything. We are in a gamble, an endless battle, where the gifts or curses of the risks we take are only revealed in the end.

Even the wisest man cannot explain every secret to you, because some things are better left unsaid. Know why?

We cannot answer without questions. We cannot love without hate. We cannot find something without seeking. We cannot win without fighting. We cannot live without dying. Things work in Irony, as there is North with South, and East with West, Day with Night, Beginning with End.

So you see, my friend, I cannot explain anymore, because the mystery of life can only be unveiled by the ones who walk through it. I have seen it, but nothing is clear for me yet; as life still breathes in me, and I am taking this opportunity to seek for more.

Travel with me. Time is telling me to keep dreaming and reaching.

Love,

// hrh

When Should I Trust? Who Should I Trust?

When should I trust? Who should I trust?

Dear Friend,

In a battle, a warrior must guide his own back. There is no one to fully trust, because sometimes, exposing your vulnerability will only mean danger for you.

My friend, in a war where in you are left alone to fight for yourself and the rest of the world, you cannot help but seek for company, for someone who will fight alongside with you. As no man is an island, we are social in nature. We do not just exist, for we coexist with one another.

But why am I saying this?

I think I have to remind you that no one else can fully read your mind but yourself. You alone can understand you, you alone know you, and you alone can change you. Yes, some may have a glimpse of how you act, they may even judge you, but do they know the reason behind why you are such? Do they even care to find out? And if they do, do they understand what it feels like to be you?

I’m afraid they cannot, my friend, because they can never be you the same way you can never be them. We are born with similarities, but we are molded with differences. It is as of how all apples are apples but we taste them in various ways.

So I must say, that even though we are tied in a commitment, you cannot expect anyone to fight your battle for you. They have their own war to win, my friend, expecting much from them will only hurt you.

Love,

// hrh

Wear Your Scars Like an Armor

You have always been questioned about your scars. You would sometimes give a laugh for an answer, for you know that even without your words they already have assumed answers on their head. And they look at you with curious eyes, not knowing that you can see through them. You can see their judgments, you can see their disgust, you can see their pity. Then, while you are gone, they talk as if they know you when they don’t, and they stab you silently with the stained glasses of your trust that they had broken.

What they don’t know is that you’re a fighter. With your own blood you cleanse their wrongs by ignoring them and living the best of what you can have.

Continue reading Wear Your Scars Like an Armor

Why is Our Generation Depressed?

Why is our generation depressed?

Because we are pressured into thinking that even doing our best is not enough. We are labeled lazy, but the truth is, we face the problems that older generations made and expect us to solve them.

Because we are still haunted by the prejudices of the past. We fight for recognition, equality, justice- all things that should have been given way before.

Because the society lets us believe that shallow things matter. Fame, appearance- we cannot escape judgment especially on the height of technology. We question ourselves when we do not meet its standards.

Because relationships nowadays mean so little. Forming friendships is like being in a poker game where you wouldn’t know one’s intention until it’s too late. Commitment is fragile, built on sand instead of cement, so it fades away quickly.

Because we were taught to hide our weaknesses instead of embracing them. Everybody is going to use it against you. Everybody is going to judge you.

Because dreams no longer mean happiness. They also need to be convenient, not just for yourself, but for everyone else related to you in a way who can benefit.

Because hope is already tied with too many broken promises, mistrust, and shattered expectations. We are so used to the idea of hopelessness that we make jokes about how foolish it is to even have the slightest hope in the simplest things.


Why is our generation depressed?

Because we are tired of fighting battles that have been fought for generations.

Imagine, just imagine.. how the next generations will be.

// hrh

There is a Reason Why You Always Feel Lost

Have you ever wondered about the reality in where there is a different version of ourselves in every person we encounter? It is like we exist with different story lines connecting into one that is our own. To the kid you passed by and smiled at because there was ice cream on his face, you are the stranger who found him amusing while his mother scolded him for getting stains on his new shirt. To your friends, you are the person they go to whenever they need help.

Even the mirror reveals different parts of you each time you look at it. On the day of your wedding, you are a princess getting her happy ending. At 6AM, you are a cranky adult who hates his job but needs to wake up to pay the bills. On a day when everything is falling down, you are someone who is again, lost.

It is no wonder that despite the continuous rotation of life and no matter how much we discover it, we often find ourselves lost.

There is no definite version of ourselves. Every day, we are reborn into a slightly alternate version of the same selves. It may sound confusing, but we humans have a core with many layers that we peel off in every smile, every tear, every moment. It is our duty to ourselves to live in each layer we take off, because reaching the core is only when we can say that we have fulfilled life.

Whenever you feel lost, remember, it is just because you haven’t lived enough and the only way to dismiss that feeling is to continue living.

// hrh