2. Afraid of Suffering

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I assumed everyone was scared of death. I certainly started to “feel it” when I turned 40 this year. To many, this might seem too early to think about dying, but for some reason, I started to think about how risks for certain diseases seem to increase with age, and in the next 20 years, I might witness the death of someone around me. I guess, it might be just my anxious nature. Certainly, in my 20s, I never had these thoughts. I just assumed that life would go on forever, and if I made a mistake, I could certainly fix it tomorrow. However, as I have gotten older, I have started to feel the sand trickle down that sand timer a little faster than before. Is it only me?

The other day, I brought this topic up during a lunch with friends who were around the same age as me. I was surprised to hear that they weren’t afraid of death at all. In fact, they thought it was a natural part of life. Even my husband could easily give me a similar answer. All this made me think really hard about why I was afraid. Was I afraid of the possible suffering before death? Was I afraid that I was wasting my precious life? Was I scared that I won’t be able to see my loved ones again? I’m not totally sure. Maybe, it was a combination of all those reasons I guess.

However, the most ironic thought came into my head afterwards. I used to wish for death all the time. I remember when I was my sickness, living at the psych ward, I was asked by the nurse whether I felt suicidal all the time. My answer was always “yes,” because I wanted the suffering to end. Yet, now today, since I feel “better,” I am afraid death all the time. I can barely to make it to most doctor appointments without freaking out. Furthermore, I don’t know how many times I have cried at the eye doctor. Gosh, life is truly a weird journey sometimes, isn’t it?

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1. Trips and Anxiety

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I haven’t written a blogpost for a while, mostly because I have been so overwhelmed with all the activities during the Christmas holidays. Now that it is the new year, I feel inspired to write again. However, I thought I would write my blogposts more like a journal this year. I just want to share thoughts and experiences that I encounter in my daily life as someone with anxiety.

The last week was a bit of a difficult one since I became ill after returning from a trip. For an anxious person, going on a trip is like a double-ended sword because it can be great fun, but also can bring about great stress. I am one of those people who thrive on routine, and with travelling, even if it is well planned out, it is still not my everyday routine. So I was surprised that this trip went quite well. I think it helped a lot that I was visiting family who were aware of my mental illness. Instead, I think most of the anxiety for this trip stemmed from not having a great time on my last trip. During my previous trip, I actually drank strong coffee (which I hadn’t drank in a long time), and it made my anxiety suddenly spike. I actually had to go lay down in a room.

I think one thing that made this trip better was I just decided to just do whatever I wanted according to how I felt. I thought it would mean I would miss out on certain activities, but weirdly enough, I pretty much participated in everything. It was strange. I felt like just going out and having fun became the routine. I guess, anxiety affects people in ebbs and flows too. It doesn’t always turn out to be bad like we imagine in our heads. Even if it didn’t turn out to be a good trip, I also realized that I showed up and tried and that is half the battle. Did I have a few moments of stress? Yes I did and I actually told others how I was feeling. I realized sharing your vulnerabilities actually gives you strength sometimes. I figure, in life, any time you can be as close to your true self as possible is a good thing right? How do you feel about going on trips?