I don’t think I’ve completely grown out of my anxiety yet. You know that feeling of invincibility people talk about? That still stands alien to me. But I do know I’ve come this far, and maybe anyone else suffering from failures can resonate with this story and look towards it’s positive side.
I had been a bright kid all my childhood and teens. Being amongst the best students and being praised for just existing was all common and taken granted for. But due to the job my family had, we had to shift places very often. This resulted in lack of real long-term friendships, and when I look back, there are very few who actually made this far in my contact list. And non could make the cut for a best friend who shared their real stuff in life.
Things changed when I went to college, a foreign medical college. Basically, a dream for many people right? I was going fine back then. Didn’t know how to make friends but things turned out ok after an year or two. And then I finally met the most beautiful girl one could ever imagine. Can’t say how god was so generous and kind to me and I got to be her closest friend. She was absolutely amazing, she is absolutely amazing. She could read my mind and tell things even I couldn’t know about myself. She was the first person who shared all her highs and lows with me, and actually wanted to know about mine.
I hate to admit but yes, time flies. Things don’t stay the same for people who are bond to their family, culture and made up restrictions. Though it had become very intimate and pure to let go of it just like that, we promised each other not to be in touch when we come to our country. But it couldn’t happen too easy.
I didn’t want her to suffer more by continuing something that was only going into darkness. Finally, I had to be the bad person and cut things off. But with that, more than a partner, I had lost my best friend. Things went very pale from that point. I knew this is inevitable, and had an important exam approaching so tried to concentrate more on that.
But just like karma, life is a black m*fing bitch. The result to the exam was negative. I, who had not seen such a failure couldn’t handle it too well. The support I had expected was far to be seen from family and anyone else around. Everyone was suddenly convinced that I was a big failure of a person. The mental war I was dealing with due to her loss, just exploded to another level. Where ever I looked, I could only see people mocking and pity me. Why? Because I had failed in an exam?
And you’re on the losing side of the battle when your family suddenly looses all hopes on you. This exam had proved to me, it wasn’t about being a nice person, it was always about being a successful one.
I developed severe social anxiety, to a stage where I didn’t want to leave my house because everyone around would be judging me out there (that’s what my mind told me 24/7). Luckily, I was sane enough to find therapy as a better option. When I came back home and discussed about it with my family, it all backfired and wasn’t taken quite well either. It seemed like a disaster to them, if their kid needed a stranger to deal with his problems rather than themselves. I didn’t visit the therapist again.
I wasn’t doing well. Anxiety was slowly becoming a part of who I am. Even while describing all of this, those demons come back at me, telling me how I had lost the right to even exist because I had failed in an exam. Trying to do everything right in life is the worst thing one can go for. It was the route of my problems. Because now people can’t afford to see you go wrong/ fail ever.
But then, I developed my interest into mental health awareness and tried to channel my energy in that direction. The lockdown gave me ample time to deal with my inner trauma and read more about psychology of our mind itself. Slowly, I started to get the bigger picture, and accepted that failures really are a part of our lives, and things associated with it can’t be unwelcomed no matter how hard we try. But those things don’t define us.
I learned that no matter what the world tried to tell me, and how much disgust I had to see in their eyes, It doesn’t define the real me. The real me is made for great things as I had always known my entire life. The real me knew that unworthy people didn’t require my attention and though I can’t cut them off, I can out grow things that my head made up for me due to those things they said.
The most important thing I learnt, which I was never ever told, was to love and respect myself. Self-love and acceptance have worked like magic for me. Today when I look back at those times, I wish I knew how to respect myself a little more, and maybe this misery could have never occurred.
To anyone who is suffering from failures and anxiety connected to it, I won’t tell you it’s going to get better with time. It’ll get better with self-love. At this point in our lives, we shouldn’t consider it to be selfish, it’s more of a necessity. It’s not easy to take failures into the positive light in a snap. There’s a long process of finding the beauty within us hidden behind. I was willing to put in the work for my mental health, I hope you get the strength to do that to.
-Dr Ayush Aggarwal