Categories
Opinion | Opinião

STATE OF ALERT

Generalized anxiety disorder is often described as being in a permanent state of alert. The heart rate rises, adrenaline is in full throttle, all cells ready to fight and escape for survival. In healthy individuals, this state is transitory and activated only in the face of danger. People with generalized anxiety disorder have this state activated all day during common situations. Everything is taken as a matter of life or death.

All this happens on a subconscious level. Emotions take control of everything, regardless of the constructs of rationality. This is the main feature people fail to understand about mental illness.

A brave person hides emotions in the face of danger and takes action to heroic deeds. Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder feel they are facing danger all the time and are constantly hiding those emotions to take every single action. It is a life felt as martyrdom, no matter how simple and common each task is felt to healthy people. This behavior is often seen as weakness, laziness, irresponsibility, selfishness and arrogance especially when tasks are not fulfilled in due time. Imagine the effect of making such accusations to someone whose emotions tell all the time one is being brave.

No wonder suicide is an option now and then.

Judgemental people are the most toxic to individuals with generalized anxiety disorder, especially when they start giving advice. The intensity of the state of alert goes sky high and suicide becomes a more viable option.

The only valid way to give advice and really help someone with generalized anxiety disorder is to make no judgement and give all the love it takes to make a child feel safe. The state of alert was learned in childhood, before the acquisition of consciousness, or deployed by trauma. Only true generous caresses can make the feeling of danger go away.

Categories
Personal | Pessoal

BACK TO THE NIGHTMARE

Last week I was said my request for an unpaid leave was not valid due to an alleged error on my proceedings. This happens after four months of leave. Now I’m back to work until things are solved out.

All the heavy symptoms of depression and anxiety are back. I can hardly move or eat. Most of my gestures must be done slowly and it gets real hard to remember what I intended to do seconds before. The buzz on my ears is constant, the elephant foot presses my chest like in the days I head no diagnosis nor medicines, I am regressing four years.

People have no idea of the immobilizing force of both generalized anxiety disorder and major depression. This thing involves grief, panic, numbness, really fast streams of inchoative interior monologue, disorientation, guilt, anger, despair, chills, sweats and what not, all flooding your veins from an anthill eroding your stomach and chest. Only fear prevents you from suicide. Though you hate it, fear becomes your only true friend.

I fear the day of losing fear. Someday, head diving from my sixth floor balcony will become pretty easy. All it takes is a few steps, a little climbing and letting myself go. Someday I will lose my faith on whatever prevents me to let myself fall free.

Getting hurt and loosing my life still frighten me. For the time being, I persevere as a survivor. My ambitions as an artist and a lover are what keep me going. I fear the day my heart realizes those ambitions are fantasies. My survival depends on the naivete of my heart.

Categories
Short Stories | Contos

STUCK IN THE ISLAND

Laura got stuck in the island. Again. We were all worried with her. No one could say she was not doing it on purpose. There was too much stress, noise and isolation.

I one of our awareness campaigns about Laura and thousands like her, we prepared a huge empty dark room with a surround sound system. People were divided into groups and had to communicate with each other the way Laura did. There were individual and community tasks to be made in the darkness and, most relevantly, under the deafening noise.

We design the project too well. Some people developed, for a while, behaviors like Laura’s. Social detachment, numbness, isolation, irritability, anxiety, major depression and suicidal tendencies. One hour in the dark room was enough to make damage. People were aware, some would come back to the dark room for the sake of deepening their knowledge, and the more they did so, the more like Laura they would become.

I’ve been into the dark room for days in a row, both as the chief, author and supervisor of the project, and for the knowledge all off a sudden I was getting. The exposure to noise, darkness and effort to desperately communicate was changing the processing of my emotions and I wanted to know what was happening. Like everyone else, when in the dark room, among drifting silhouettes and the full spectrum of noises, only two things were present in mind. Finishing the task successfully, because others depended on me, and getting the hell out of there.

The disruptive and self-destroying behaviors of the dark room’s regular visitors made authorities take action. The project was canceled after four months. As for the awareness, it didn’t reach the said authorities.

“This was utterly dangerous an a monumental flop!,” shouted Allan to me. “Head office is furious. They want your head on a tray surrounded by sauteed potatoes with garlic and oregon.”

“Tell them we never had so many supporters as in this campaign. We can finally achieve a number capable of some pressure.”

“Are you really from this planet, Jacob?” Allan kicked on my iron desk, already dented by previous arguments. “Listen to me, you dupe. Everyone is aware of the damn problem. Everyone! You don’t need any fancy sensory freak show to make people understand the thing. People know about this. They learn it in school, science documentaries and our damn work for decades. The plain truth is they don’t care and never will.”

“After being in the dark room, they will.”

Another kick on the desk.

“You stubborn bonkers! All you got was a bunch of pretentious college kids turned into fanatics!”

To my despair, Allan was spot on.

I was rumbling on this memory while heading full throttle to the beach. I was really scared with the stranding of Laura. As expected, an immense crowd surrounded her, taking pictures while some locals shoveled the sand. A tractor was arriving. I saw her gray bulk on the island shore and her left fin raised for a bit, and I couldn’t help thinking she was saying farewell. There was too much noise in the ocean for her. Too many engines, propellers and sonars. Too many humans. No peace. No rest. No friends to talk to. Only the will to die.

Saturday, September 4th 2021