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The world is chaotic, let alone Lebanon.
A tiny country in the Mediterranean Sea holds so much beauty yet so much pain. The pandemic and the economic crisis teamed up against my anxiety. I found myself suddenly crippled. Fear of the known, fear of the unknown. Fear of myself. Fear for myself. I sunk and I sunk deep.
After I was formally diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), I was unable to live on my own.
Constant reassurance was my drug. Crying sessions and 4 a.m. body paralysis were on my daily schedule. Shivers through my body woke me up at 4 a.m., and I struggled not to ask for help, but it was almost impossible. My mom, dad, and two brothers were my soldiers, always on call to fight a new battle with me—a battle that almost cost me my career. Every day, I fought to do the bare minimum.
As an adult, I am expected to put my demons aside and work normally. And this is what I did. For months, I would have a mental breakdown in the morning then wear a mask at 7:50 a.m. and carry on with my adult tasks. It felt like it was a never-ending cycle of depression, and there was no way out.
Until one day… I got out.
I remember my first sip of coffee after not being able to digest anything for months. It was a simple pleasure that brought me so much joy. Coffee meant that I was making progress. Breakfast meant that I was making more progress.
Things worked out one day at a time.
Each day brought a new challenge, yet I was able to also see a new opportunity. Little by little, my anxiety grew on me. I learned that my anxiety does not define me, but I also knew that it was something I needed to carry, and I decided to carry it gracefully.
I started to focus more on myself and what makes me happy. I chose the right people to help me face my fears at the right place and the right time. I let go of “societal pressure” and embraced myself, my time, my comfort, my beliefs, and my peace.
I started to love my anxiety, to love myself. Love the extra pounds I gained, love myself. Love my tired skin, love myself. I was on the path toward healing. My country being in a complete downturn, along with my anxiety, lifted me up.
No money to go out, more time to read. No money to buy clothes, more opportunities to upcycle. No money value earned, time to quit my job.
In the most severe economic and mental health crisis, I found time for myself to help myself.
I found peace in times of chaos.