What if they aren’t illnesses?

August 21, 2020 § Leave a comment

A friend sent me this link today:

It’s an article about new research, based on which some scientists have argued that anxiety, depression, PTSD and ADHD may not be diseases at all, but responses to adversity. It certainly felt like that today for me, with an important interview that I had to conduct with the CEO of a large company.

My boss was joining the interview as well, and my fear of failure at successfully conducting the interview was running through my body, and bang in the middle of the interview, that roiling in the stomach was palpable. Then the internet connection dropped off. It didn’t help that my boss suddenly asked me to turn my video on. I hadn’t anticipated that and was doing the interview in audio mode, wearing a T-shirt. I had to make an excuse about the connectivity and so on.

I guess one of the questions to ask is why some people, like me, are a lot more anxious in situations like this than others. Three years ago, I still had the anxiety, but it was the usual stress that anyone would feel before an important meeting or event in which they would be participating. And I’ve interviewed big CEOs before. Many times. There was nothing new about today.

At the beginning of 2018, an experiment of mine with intermittent fasting over the previous few months went badly wrong, one day, and triggered my first massive panic attack, which included terrible heart palpitations. Back then, I didn’t know anything about panic attacks and hadn’t even heard the term. I really thought my time was up. That broke open all my other negative repressed feelings and the fear I experienced that day became the basis for all the anxiety I was to feel over the next two-and-a-half years and more until this day.

And the thoughts of dying and leaving my family to fend for themselves triggered a deep sadness and depression in me. And obviously, living in the Covid19 world has made it worse.

The scientists in the study above posit that anxiety and depression are chronic responses to such situations and thoughts. That makes sense to me, especially because now my anxiety is amplified everytime by what would otherwise have been normal work stress.

In the end, the interview went well today and that my internet connection, thankfully, came right back within a minute helped. But I’m yet to get a handle on my fear — both the more recent one, related to the panic attack triggered by the intermittent fasting and the older one related to how I grew up.

#anxiety #depression #anxietyanddepression #panicattack

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