Saturday, January 28, 2017

How does one fight with anxiety?

(Alice Donovan Rouse)
Yesterday sucked. Like, really really sucked. I went to bed feeling defeated. But I fell asleep anyway, because what else could I do?

Sometimes I feel so incredibly hopeless. Hopeless in my shyness. Hopeless in my inability to effect change. A single thought echoes in my brain: My world is so flawed and my impact is so small. Over and over just like that.

Maybe it is selfish to wonder, but I think about whether anyone else feels this way. This combination of a keen awareness of current events and the ensuing rampant anxiety.

Along the eternal carousel of misfortune that is the 24 hour news cycle, I become outraged, incensed, gobsmacked. My mind can't wrap itself around the reality that we live in such an unjust world, where equality is constantly disproven as an essential tenet of humanity. It is absurd, insulting to our intelligence as a species. I want to fight it, to rail against it.

And then I retreat.

I watch videos of protesters and I feel heartened, my faith leavened by their strength and commitment to the respectful challenging of authority. And then I am overwhelmed by a new thought: Why am I not there too?

FOMO is part of my daily routine, but it doesn't stop me from not doing things. I stagnate constantly due to a worse struggle: anxiety.

Where do the introverts and anxiety-ridden go to fight? I haven't found an answer to this yet. Even calling my senator is a step outside my comfort zone (though this graphic on how to call your representatives despite social anxiety really helped). Donating is one strategy, but can become challenging when you're a recent graduate without much expendable income. I have looked for volunteer roles at various organizations, but haven't followed through. Again, perhaps, out of some degree of anxiety.

How do I switch roles with anxiety, turning myself from its slave to its master? In what little or big ways can I make an impact and help motivate the change I want to see in my country and in the world? Can I go outside my comfort zone and not back down?

While many of my blogs are about finding answers on my own, I'm still looking for the solutions to these questions. I think I will continue to search and find them in the coming four years. I hope if you're like me, together we can funnel our dejection into finding purpose and making a difference. Fear should never keep us from speaking and acting out for what is right.

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