Just get two sandwiches quickly. I’m Starving’ said Arish. It was 12:30 am. We were at Subway to satisfy our midnight cravings. It was a warm summer night and the place was jam-packed because it was Ramadan. There were groups of people coming in to grab a sandwich before it was time for Suhoor (the Islamic term for the meal consumed before fasting). I saw a bunch of people queued at the counter. Arish had already made himself comfortable sitting in a spot at the corner. As I started walking towards the counter I could feel my heart racing. I was now standing behind two guys in the queue. I was suddenly self-conscious and was overcome by fear. I had experienced occasional anxiety before but nothing like this. It felt as if all eyes were on me. I kept memorizing the order in my mind to distract myself but it wasn’t helping and when my turn came to order words won’t come out of my mouth. I just stood there staring blankly at the guy behind the counter while he repeatedly asked me what I wanted. I knew what I wanted, this wasn’t anything new I had been at this place a million times before. The air conditioning was working fine but I was sweating profusely. I turned around and walked back to where Arish was sitting. I broke my vow of silence by telling him I couldn’t order rather loudly. I was fine when we came in but here I was panicking. I could feel my heart thumping loudly in my chest almost as if my heart was about to explode. Arish tried to calm me down but there was nothing he could say or do that would convince me to go back. Agitated and confused he got up and placed the order. Where were these feelings coming from? Why was I so anxious and why was I panicking? The panic attack lasted for about five minutes but those five minutes felt like an eternity to me. Arish came back and tried to calm me down. I wanted to leave but he was adamant to stay. Once the panic attack ended I felt drained of energy and numb. The ride back home was uncomfortable and all along the way, I felt uneasy. Will this ever get better? Why can’t I be like all the other young guys? My thoughts were just as disoriented as I was.
The Ugly Sisters:
It was no surprise that I had social anxiety coupled with panic disorder. But never before did I have these. So why now? The answer that I found was pretty hard to digest. My depression was to blame. I had developed anxiety disorder because of my depression. But can a person have more than one disorder? Well, the answer is a big resounding yes! In fact, it is quite common for people suffering from one of the two conditions to develop the other one. I was surprised to learn that there is even a medical term for this phenomena. When a person has more than one disorder it’s called ‘Comorbidity’ Comorbidity can be best described as a disease or condition that is a result of, or strongly related to another primary disease. In my case depression was the primary disease and anxiety was its Comorbidity. The relation between anxiety and depression is complex but simply put anxiety is the belief that things can go wrong and make the future worse it is accompanied by activation of feelings and sensations while depression is the belief that nothing will ever go right and is followed by feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. They both have different results but are affect the same neurotransmitters and that is why they induce almost identical thinking pattern. Sometimes they even have the same physical symptoms. This is the reason I like to call them the ugly sisters because when one comes visiting the other is likely to follow.
Is There A Cure?
The good thing about these ugly sisters is that both of them are incredibly curable and if one is willing to commit to getting effective treatment than the chances of these two causing further harm can be diminished. If you suffer from anxiety, depression or both know this that they can be cured and you too can find relief. I overcame my anxiety when I committed to finding a cure for my depression and got proper help. If anxiety has taken hold of your life then you can always turn it the other way around by seeking proper medical attention. Remember there is no shame to ask for help when you need it. We all are prone to medical conditions and can suffer from one at any given time in our lives. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and if I can beat the ugly sisters so can you.
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