I’m so excited to welcome teen book blogger Charvi to the blog today with a post about examining anxiety from a variety of angles and through books. Charvi is a newcomer to Shattering Stigmas and I’m so excited to have her post on my blog. Keep up with Charvi on her blog and Twitter.
Write about anxiety said my brain.
It’s gonna be great, said my brain.
Hi everyone! My name is Charvi and you can usually find me blogging away at Not Just Fiction. Today I’ve popped up at Taylor’s blog for the Shattering Stigmas series. First off, I want to applaud all the co-hosts of this series for coming up with this idea, I absolutely love it. Also, thank you so much Taylor for having me here 🙂
Why am I here though?
I’m here to talk about anxiety.
No, I’m not here to give you textbook definitions of what anxiety is and educate you on how to go about it. Because to start with, anxiety isn’t really something you can define. It is indefinable because different people experience it differently. Trying to define anxiety would be like trying to define love, there is no one definition.
And many a times people don’t even use definitions, they use prevalent stereotypes associated with anxiety as definitions.
“Oh you’ve got anxiety? You must shy away from every single person and hate phone calls.”
Maybe, maybe not. Either way your stereotypes are making me uncomfortable or invalidating my anxiety, if I don’t fit into your stereotypes of what anxiety is. Here’s a true story for you. I’ve always been an anxious individual and a couple of years ago I found out that the internet associates anxiety with being afraid of making phone calls. I found phone calls a pretty normal part of my routine but to get that validation my teenage self somehow internalised that stereotype and now I’m anxious of phone calls. Bravo! As if I didn’t have enough anxieties in life 🙂
Please tread lightly when it comes to anxiety, or any mental health illness for that matter of fact. You may not intend to or even realise the amount of damage you are causing to the other person. Whatever you know about anxiety is only the tip of the ice-berg. I like how media, especially books are giving voice to anxiety in so many ways these days.
I’m so tired. I’m tired of anxiety that twists my stomach so hard I can’t move the rest of my body. Tired of constant vigilance. Tired of wanting to do something about myself, but always taking easy way out.Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Every time I thought I’d worked out what I really enjoyed, I started to second-guess myself. Maybe I just didn’t enjoy anything anymore.Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
But like I said, everyone experiences anxiety differently so there’s plenty more room for other narratives. In fact, for this post I want to list out some anxious thoughts that are a part of my daily routine, ones that you might never think a person with anxiety has to go through.
- Me, lying in bed: my dorm neighbours are having some fun. Hmm, I wonder what my friends back home are doing. Are they having fun? Have they already forgotten about me because they haven’t contacted me in a long time. Wait am I the only one in my friend group who’s not having fun in life?
- Oh that’s nice, my friend is going back home today. I hope they have a nice flight. Wait, it’s raining outside. What if their flight gets delayed? Or cancelled? What if they have to stay alone and hungry at the airport?
- I wonder how my sister’s studies are going? Ugh she has such bad concentration, I hope she’s not on her phone right now. God I hope she gets good marks in her exams. What if she doesn’t?
- Am I feeling anxious? Or am I hungry? Oh god why am I feeling anxious about feeling anxious??
- God why is it so hot in October? It’s global warming that’s why. I’m so worried about this, when is the government going to act? Are we really going to die by 2050?
- Okay, I’m so full. I literally can’t eat anymore. But there’s still some food and I don’t want to waste it. So I should eat it I guess. But what if I get a stomachache from eating too much? What do I do??
In a nutshell, my anxiety doesn’t just revolve around me. It revolves around the lives of every single person I know and every incident that takes place in my consciousness. Anxiety can be triggered by something extremely random and knowing that I’m getting anxious over something completely random and useless doesn’t help in the least bit.
I hope what I wrote resounds with at least one person who reads this, but even if it doesn’t resound with you, I’m going to recommend five books with great anxiety representation and hopefully you’ll see yourself in those books 🙂
“I learned years ago that it’s okay to do this. To seek out small spaces for me, to stop and imagine myself alone. People are too much sometimes. Friends, acquaintances, enemies, strangers. It doesn’t matter; they all crowd. Even if they’re all the way across the room, they crowd. I take a moment of silence and think:
I am here. I am okay.” –Eliza and her Monsters
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)” – Fangirl
“Some people’s coping mechanisms were all about festering and secrecy and ruminating until you grew yourself a nice little tumor in your heart with a side of panic attack. Different strokes.” – Emergency Contact
“I get into this weird place sometimes where I worry about that. I’ve never told anyone this – not my moms, not Cassie – but that’s the thing I’m most afraid of. Not mattering. Existing in a world that doesn’t care who I am.” – The Upside of Unrequited
“I wonder- if nobody is listening to my voice, am I making any sound at all?” – Radio Silence