I want to describe a type of anxiety that I feel sometimes. Not to mention that emotional experiences and feelings are in many ways complicated and subjective, and even more so in the ways that one might try to describe them in words. And not to mention that things like anxiety are often co-morbid (psychology term that means more than one ‘disorder’ occurring at a time) with other ‘things’, thus trying to isolate anxiety by itself being somewhat of an impossible or futile thing. But–it helps that I was in that state an hour ago, and so I feel motivation and have the desire to write about it:
I’ve heard of the idea that there is no fault in the act of people who try to gain happiness. Or, for an even stronger argument, in the act of people who try to gain happiness in order to get away from anxiety–to feel ‘okay’. I can’t remember where I encountered it… maybe it was from Tumblr a long time ago.
Anyways, what is anxiety? Well, once again, not to mention–but in the process having mentioned it anyways, ironically–all the disclaimers I said in the beginning, anxiety is a state of being. And in that state, feelings can range from feeling slightly off or feeling a little discomfort, to feeling like something is severely wrong in which case the attention to the feeling takes precedence over all other functions of life. I mean, it’s only natural that, for example, if you see a fire, you would–or at least you probably should–try to get out of there immediately.
What happened about an hour ago was that I was at the very start (low end) of that spectrum. And really, nothing happened that would trigger it–at least, nothing that I could figure out–but I just happened to be feeling it. And I guess the next iteration of anxiety is the ability to notice and observe this feeling inside of me.
I’ll start by admitting that I’m a bit anxious right now. I mean, I’m inside a state of anxiety, which means that my thought process and my view of the world might be different than how they are normally. It’s kind of a good thing for the purpose of this post, because otherwise, I may not want to (or could) write about it in the same way that I am able to write it now. And I’m writing it simply because I want to, which is something of a fleeting golden opportunity. Lastly, I’m inclined to make the observation that this compulsive desire to write is an indication that I felt something poignant enough.
Going back to the topic at hand, I need to mention that I have found certain parts of anxiety to be kind of enjoyable. And this might be a bit difficult to explain, but it’s the idea that things around me don’t seem quite as real, or that things seem more interesting or fantastical than usual. In this state, I have a strong longing for intimacy. I can feel my own vulnerability. And I feel… suggestible. (I might add to the list, hot and feverish, but then it’s usually because I actually have a fever. These feelings are in the same direction, just much further along.)
I mean the anxiety itself feels horrible and uncomfortable, but on the flip side is the same degree for desire itself. And this pattern of anxiety made escaping into fantasy somehow more real and important. It made me search and long for things with an unprecedented passion. Perhaps it was in part desperation, but I thought it was passionate nonetheless. Its vulnerability was interesting, as it was kind of awesome in its sheer powerfulness. It was like falling in love.
So whenever I would feel dysphoria, vulnerable, anxious, lonely, or whatever it could be called, I would do whatever I could to feel better. Now the problem arises in the difficulty of assessing the validity of my circumstances accurately. What I mean is that I’m probably biased in thinking that I had no choice but to do the things to make myself feel better–that the anxieties really were a big problem and that it was only natural for me to seek shelter from it over all other things.
And… to a large extent. they were. But of course, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that anxiety meant I didn’t have to do my homework. That I didn’t have to go to my classes. I could just make an excuse. In fact, anxiety meant that I could neglect any of my responsibilities when I felt anxious. And soon, the lines between ‘I can’t’ and ‘I don’t want to’ started to blur. And consequently, anxiety, with its friend stress, only came back stronger and scarier after days of procrastination.
While I was anxious, there are things that I’ve done that I could only have done because I was anxious, like how someone has less inhibition when they’re drunk. I guess to a certain extent, I enjoyed doing whatever I wanted to do. But still, I really was petrified sometimes. Anxiety was debilitating. Anxiety was scary. And in those moments, I just wanted to feel okay, because feeling anxious felt like I was like dying or something. Parts of it (or even all of it) might just have been in my head, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was a habit, a pattern, a cycle.
But in that state, I sought after comfort. And I don’t mean living comfortably but to have someone care for me and comfort me. I desired coziness and warmth. I wanted to be taken care of, I wanted to be wanted, and I wanted to find love.
But many of those times, it brought me to the end of my rope. Again and again. It was quite dysfunctional and distressing. It became related to my selfishness, anger, bitterness, loneliness, and substance use (I’m counting coffee and alcohol as substances). It all became too complicated. Maybe I was just confused. Or maybe depressed. Or maybe… But then again, aren’t these indication enough that something was wrong with me?
I’d say so. But almost stubbornly, I kept searching for answers. And I guess after 5 years, I came to a decision to love Jesus.
I won’t go into the details about that in this post (as I kind of already did here). But in the process of going through it all, it made me look at emotional states like sadness, pleasure, anxiety, joy, hope, and love completely differently. I kind of came out on the other end as this… not normal person. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want me in any other way. The fact that God loves me, and I mean really me, with all of this? And then literally living through His healing, adventures, teachings, and world? Now that’s fantasy. I don’t know a whole lot yet but it’s been amazing, and Jesus has definitely been more than enough for me.
There used to be a great deal of shame and confusion about myself. I mean, to be fair, the stuff I wrote on this post isn’t the most casual topic. But I see that I’m just human after all. Plus, most of the times, I can confidently say that I live without the awareness of these human conditions. It’s like I’ve forgotten all about it already–except when I get a little taste of it like today and get the opportunity to remember. Although, it seems like every time I feel like I’m ‘all good’, I quickly learn that I can so easily fall back into my old habits.
You know what’s a bit awkward? I wrote most of this stuff on the bus ride home, because pondering about things on a moving vehicle is kind of picturesque as well as it being actually effective (same with shower thoughts). But then I came home and listened to Kare Kano’s OP because it popped into my head like my brain was trying to tell me that it was relevant. But then the song, with its own emotional context and my own history with it, kind of re-contextualized the state of anxiety that I’ve tried to think about. Ugh.
But it helped that I wrote all the main ideas down already, and I was surprised by how quickly I was able to reconnect, in order to be able to authentically and properly channel the anxiety to write this post (LOL). I also think that Anno (who directed Kare Kano) has without a doubt went through a very similar depression as me. And of course, his works (like Nadia and Eva) communicate the human conditions and depression more poignantly. But one day, I would like to create art that touches the heart of others who are also deeply, passionately, desperately, and helplessly searching for love. (I mean, from what I know now, it’ll be more of sharing the love of Jesus rather than trying to invent my own. Although, maybe my ideal art is just creating things inspired by His love.)
One last thing I want to try and clarify is what this particular ‘anxiety’ is. I mean maybe it’s more of a loneliness and longing. This part is more for me as I have no idea how to explain it (has this post become a journal?) but I may be able to reference The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in some way. And point out the similarities and differences between this and the ‘moonlight’ state I described in here (2nd paragraph). I’m not too sure yet but they seem quite similar.
I want to mention this because I noticed that a friend of mine today was stressed(?) when I casually talked about things (I can’t remember what it was though) like I usually do. So I want to clarify a few things. When I talk about things, it means that I have found peace with it (hence being able to talk about it at all), so there is no need to feel concerned for me. On the other hand, because this is just how I process things, I have to admit that I don’t always consider other people becoming burdened by my words. So there’s that. Although… I guess it’s different than in person than in a blog. I still think it was interesting to mention. So I guess I won’t edit this out. I told her that I want there to be zero difference between how I talk and how I write my blog. I guess, for better or for worse, this is how I want to write/blog now. Maybe there are better formats (i.e. video) for something like this, but I guess I’ll probably change it up again before I know it. Plus it’s not like I post enough to have been consistent with any style yet.
This post is kind of a mess. It took me… what, like 5 hours to write it. So my state of being from the start to my state now is completely different. And it’s now 4am, so there has been a noticeable dip in quality and organization of my writing. And for some reason, I’ve been doing these meta ‘behind the scenes’ commentary in most of my writing. I don’t know. I suddenly understand why Digibro makes vlogs sound the way they do when he hasn’t slept, is drunk, and is rambling about things at like 5am in the morning. I’ll just leave it, and one day I’ll look back on this post and either cringe, think that it’s cute, or I don’t know, maybe I’ll see it as a necessary process of erasing the lines among blogging, journaling, and how I talk. A good indication is that I don’t feel anxious about publishing any of this. It is what it is, I know I am me, I know He loves me, and I’ve changed through His love… LOL this is too cheesy.