Fear is a terrible emotion. It has the ability to completely engulf you, blind you and bind you to its will. You can become paralyzed by fear, struck dumb by the sheer intensity of this primal emotion. There is nothing worse than being afraid, except when you do not know why you are experiencing fear. For several years I have suffered from generalized anxiety disorder and clinical depression. I do not know which came first and frankly I do not care. It probably would not make a difference either way. I have sought help for my condition; talked to therapists and taken antidepressants on a regular basis. Since the dark day in May 2010, when my mental stability had suffered the most, I have steadily been getting better. I have learned how to manage the depression and calm myself down during panic attacks.
It should be noted, however, that I have not been cured of my depression or anxiety. There is no cure, or so I have been told. My depression and anxiety have a tendency to go into dormancy and then when I make the mistake (which I often do) of thinking they are gone for good, they reappear and dash any hopes of being free of their oppressive grasp. I knew ahead of time that going on this trip could prove difficult if my anxiety and/or depression struck. A part of me felt reluctant to go and another part of me was defiantly determined to live my life the way I wanted to. The latter side won out and here I am in New York City. Unfortunately, the anxiety stowed away on the plane somewhere.
The anxiety came out of nowhere. I was walking out of Urban Outfitter’s with two other girls from the group when all of a sudden I felt the unmistakable pang of fear in my chest. The dark, stormy weather undoubtedly added to the dread of another panic attack. I tried ignoring the heart palpitations and the tension in my muscles, but while pretending the physical symptoms do not exist is somewhat easy, doing the same for the mental symptoms is not. How do you ignore thoughts that are not entirely clear, that reside on the peripheral of your conscious and invoke trepidation with every passing minute? I have yet to discover an answer to this question of mine.
There is some comfort in knowing that I am not alone in my struggles with my own mental health. I have met several people who face the same challenges that I do and who offer advice on how best to handle the situation. In my darkest moments I must try to recall their kind words for they offer some solace from the storm inside my mind. I must take refuge in a cave of reason and remembrance in hopes that these two elements will help me weather the storm and enjoy the rest of my trip in New York City.