It’s pretty apt that one of the core modules this semester includes Neuropsychology in Stress and Resilience.
This semester isn’t the worst, but it’s definitely been the most hectic so far: a juggling act. Commitments and schoolwork and revision and relationships, etc.
Then again, almost everyone at this point in their lives are probably experiencing the same thing right? Just so happens that every single one of us have our own ways of dealing with the stresses (and stressors) in our lives.
And well, this is one of mine: to rant, to share.
In all honesty, I feel assured when I read stories that I can relate to. In some way, it as if I’m not alone. And in turn, I hope my story can do the same for someone else out there as well :)
So yes, I’ve been dealing with anxiety & stress for most of my life. It’s not clinical anxiety, I’m not on medication or anything. But I have had been under medication for the physical manifestations of anxiety.
When I was 16, anxiety came in the form of the tightening of my chest, as if I was wearing a tight t-shirt; as if I was chest-deep in water. Sometimes it got so tight, it hurt and I couldn’t breathe. Mum had to force me to stop studying or working on my CCA duties, to force me to do nothing.
When I was 17, anxiety made me itch. My skin would break out in hives (swollen and itchy rashes) whenever I was cold. Air-conditioned rooms, windy days, a dip in the pool, cold drinks. The moment I’m exposed to the Singaporean weather or a hot cuppa, the pink splotches dissipate.
The western doctors Mum brought me to couldn’t find out what was wrong with me. Dust allergies, food allergies. It wasn’t till the TCM (traditional chinese medicine) doctor guessed that it could be due to stress. It sounded absolutely incredulous to me back then. I was placed on a concoction of herbal potions and western drugs and creams at that time. Nothing worked. So I just kinda lived with it.
Changed my wardrobe (long pants and jackets all day errday), avoided swimming, iced drinks and desserts were taboo.
Unknowingly, as I settled into life in SP and considered it my 2nd home, the rashes disappeared. As if the past 3 months were nothing but a distant memory. (I did google my condition and it came up to cold urticaria)
Subconsciously stressed and anxious?
Yea, the TCM doctor was right.
When I was 20 and new to university, anxiety came in the form of acne. It was as if puberty came late. And I can understand how people with acne struggle with their confidence. Acne aside, I felt like I could not be myself around people. My already-deficient self-esteem was crushed in the first few months of school, I was reserved, kept to myself, believed that I wasn’t worthy of anything, or for anyone.
I remember thinking pretty scary thoughts. But that’s a story for another day.
Now I’m 21 and its back to chest-deep-in-water sensations plus gastric (after i eat. whut).
Bound so tight by the pressure to be the best at everything and the cruel uncertainty that perhaps, maybe, I’m just not that good enough.
One thing has always been a constant though: a little inkling even in the darkest of moments; that eventually, everything will be alright.
And I’m sure this time will be no different.
You’ll be alright.