Anxiety : a ‘symptom’ of the times

People do not realize how their social environment impacts them- which is often adverse. To think that one is behaving in a manner which is not ‘proper’ in day-to-day life is to believe that we are automatons, or living in cocoons unaffected by the world around, which is never the case.

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Even if we are not directly impacted by what is going on, we are impacted by things through their percolation into our spiritual, emotional or intellectual space. Just imagine the war in Syria and millions displaced. An average person is likely to not get bothered by it in the least- but a sensitive person may be disillusioned, become fearful, feel helpless or question the sanity of civilization itself. When you see something going on in the world around and consider yourself incapable of responding to it, for it is faraway, too big for you or anything else- it fills one with a sense of loss, fear, helplessness or plain anger. If you collectively act against it, something meaningful can happen- but if you take it as personal, then it can fill you with anxiety and other such negative emotions.

On a personal note

When I was still in the phase where I considered myself ‘bipolar’ I was frequently paralyzed by spells of anxiety. I would talk hours and hours to one friend of mine, I recall, at least during one phase, of that anxiety. Talking does not help in anxiety unless you are really talking to someone knowledgeable, who can help you understand anxiety differently. But for then, it would help me tide over the difficult mornings, because my mind was absolutely frozen. But having said that, talking to another takes your mind off the anxious thoughts at least for the duration of your communication.

For the rest of the time, all the seeming failures of the past would accumulate together and stare me in the face, like some stinging vipers, and then all the uncertainties of the future looked like yawning abysses, waiting to gulp me down. I was so sick in my heart that I could not live a single day- the inner noise which was basically a huge void inside kept gnawing from within, because I would be sick to the point of inaction- frozen. I have spent years doing nothing, or doing something that I have nothing to show for today. Anxiety just freezes the mind.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Just as the quote above says, to be not filled with anxiety in the face of the civilizational changes that are rocking the world all the time, is a measure of a supremely smug, or indifferent person. Otherwise the chaos can also fill us with despair, if we take it passively without working a way out to respond to it.

On a parting note- If your house were to be flooded…what would be your immediate response? That is the response you can take towards everything in life. Think of saving what you can, while the waters rise- there is no time to despair. Try building your bridges and support whoever you can in the process- everyone’s home is sinking.

Our homes are our bodies, the home of the soul. Our bodies and minds are constantly being bombarded from all directions- from the world, from the market, the media…the stimuli are too many of to be counted. The grounds for anxiety are aplenty- so think of working out a response to it, and not get annihilated by the surroundings. Don’t take any anxiety as a personal failure- even though it would seem so.

The reality is that we live in a historical time that is very turbulent and leaves little room for peace. The peace is all within and we have to battle even with ourselves to reach that ‘within’. Don’t worry about it- you are wise and you are fundamentally a creature of peace, no matter where you are. Trust that- trust your higher nature, and seek it out by various ways. You can overcome your anxiety with talking it out wisely rather than popping in pills to deal with the problems of the world around!

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