Nabeela Nushaira Rahman | Dear Diary Part 3

Dear Diary,

Remember how I sounded slightly positive the last time I wrote to you? Turns out that did not last, because I, unfortunately again, have bad news. Apparently, I have symptoms of anxiety disorder, something that is proven to be present in women more than men, scientific studies say. Before you start telling me that it’s okay, there is a pandemic gripping us, and other consoling words – hear me out. I don’t want to live in fear anymore – so bear with me, please.

My therapist says she will help me overcome this besides my depression in our next session, but I am anxious about defeating anxiety – does that make sense? When I shared with my brother that I may have an anxiety disorder, he was taken aback and told me “but you are fearless!”, and he is not the first one to call me that you know. I sometimes do feel fearless and focused on the sometimes. At other times I fear losing my loved ones, financial troubles, failing in studies, underperforming at work, incompetence in my relationships – so many things! But the thing that makes it a disorder is linked to my depression (that happens, I have read research papers on it) which creates in me a lower sense of self – I never feel I am enough.

My peers call me outspoken, empathic, charming, and courageous for living my life my way and battling my disease yet still functioning. I should be happy and proud of myself, right? No, I am not, due to the immense height I expect myself to be, I never am happy about myself. But in contrast, I also like who I am and this baffles me. How can I be both? How am I excessively worried about my career progress yet not feel happy when I got promoted and instead feel even more pressurized?? How am I so sure of my parents’ love towards me yet always feel that I have failed them? Tell me please how do I see a dark future while simultaneously feeling I am going to add value to this world? How do I feel stupid yet keep learning new stuff each day? Too many questions for you? Just be grateful that I have not started my flow of overthinking EVERYTHING and my ‘what if’s – that’s a symptom by the way.

Some other symptoms I noticed after my session and some reading are my excessive restlessness, constant mood swings, irrational level of worrying, unable to focus or concentrate, self-consciousness, social withdrawal, palpitations, and when a panic attack comes over – full-blown devastation of my present state – pain in my chest, difficulty breathing, dizziness and inability to function. I had 4 of these so far, they are HORRIBLE!

So, I am resolute that I will take back control of my life – I don’t know how yet, now that I have stemmed another disease in my already overcrowded mind, but I will find out with my therapist and I will read up on it more.

I just have to remember – I actually am brave

Series: Dear Diary

Part: 3

Artwork by the brilliant

Nishat Nailah

Clark, D., Beck, A., and Beck, J., 1994. Symptom differences in major depression, dysthymia, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 151(2), pp.205-209.
BELL-DOLAN, D., LAST, C., and STRAUSS, C., 1990. Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders in Normal Children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 29(5), pp.759-765.
Lewinsohn, P., Gotlib, I., Lewinsohn, M., Seeley, J., and Allen, N., 1998. Gender differences in anxiety disorders and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107(1), pp.109-117.

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