Today is the first post in the Manxiety Diaries series, based on New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries, where I ask anonymous men to record a week in their anxious and stressed out lives with the hope that it will help others who are going through something similar not feel alone. Check back each week for a new Manxiety Diary!
This week’s post is written by a 20-something college student who lives in Boston. Everything said below is directly from the contributor. Notice how he starts to relieve anxiety and feel so much better when he is around close friends and getting shit done.
If you are anxious right now, ask yourself the questions below. The answers may point you in the direction of healing yourself!
What am I putting off right now that I need to do?
When was the last time I hung out with my friends, soberly?
How often do I smile or laugh throughout the normal work day?
When was the last time I felt like myself around friends?
I’m recently out of a long-term relationship with my high school girlfriend and I’m learning to deal with the “loneliness” (for lack of a better word) of being single, of not having that special someone who listens and values everything about me.
It is a significant life change, and for the first time, I’m on my own, emotionally, since becoming an adult. The changes in my life are invisible to others, but I feel them in subtle ways that are powerful to me. Simple changes like less texting have caused my anxiety to spike when I see my friends’ phone screens loaded up with dozens of messages and snap chats all day.
I woke up quite hungover from the previous night. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but my friends and I rallied ourselves to the gym. I got in a nice run, then proceeded to sit and wait until they finished their lift. During this time I began reading an email about a mindfulness challenge for the day.
For some reason, I started to feel extreme anxiety. My heart started pounding hard, and I felt light-hearted. I could feel a panic attack in the distance and that only made things worse.
Fortunately, I drank some water and calmed myself down using to breathing techniques I had learned recently. Suffice to say, it was not fun and was quite irritating.
I’ve found that hangovers give me high anxiety.
Today has been relatively uneventful and given my lack of energy from the hangover, I played Xbox and relaxed. My roommates and I made burritos for dinner and hung out.
I wasn’t feeling the stresses of school or social life in part because of my lack of energy and the cancellation of school due to a snow day.
Tonight was a strange night for me. I took Xanax, which I have never done before. It wasn’t a means to cope with my anxiety, my friends and I were just curious. I took it and it was fun.
But I feel it is important I make an effort never to use this stuff to cope with emotions, a danger which plagues damn near everyone. I am forever fearful of becoming addicted.
I do sometimes worry that I will become addicted despite my awareness of the dangers of addiction (given my family history) and no evidence of myself having any serious addiction problems.
Even while on the Xanax, part of me was disappointed in myself for taking it.
I woke up relaxed and immediately hit the gym to lift with a buddy. I felt good and was happy with the day so far.
I did have some negative thoughts about the future, and the unknown. Sometimes I feel on top of the world looking ahead; sometimes I just want to sit in bed and watch some old TV shows. I think this is because of the feeling of security that comes along with nostalgia.
I did some work and reading, both for class and leisurely.
Feeling anxious about all that I had to do, I turned to cleaning to help subdue my woes. I think having outlets are necessary. Outlets that are productive are an even better.
However, this sometimes makes me anxious that I’m subconsciously using success/achievement as a cover for my real anxiety. This frightens me. Nonetheless, the morning was ok. I’m usually peaceful in the morning because I don’t have to see anyone, I am safe in my own space.
The daytime consisted of doing homework. I was relaxed because I addressed my stressors (school/work) rather than ignore them.
I took another Xanax.
I shouldn’t have, but I did. I am relaxed but sad.
I feel like all my friends have nonstop notifications, while I don’t feel like my phone goes off that much. It makes me reflect on my life, making me sad and anxious, as well as making me miss my ex-girlfriend so much, even though it was the right thing to do.
Life can be scary and beautiful; generally, I find it to be both at the same time.
I woke up and went to the gym per my routine. I was feeling unmotivated and sluggish but forced myself to go.
I skipped class and did some things for work and school. I was extremely relaxed because Day 9 of the mindfulness challenge was very relaxing.
However, I decided to share that I am doing the Manxiety Diaries with a friend. He never acknowledged it. This spiked my anger/stress levels because it made me feel like he just doesn’t care, although I think that’s more to do with his inability to express emotions and help others with theirs.
Nonetheless, it was quite infuriating.
I took another Xanax.
I shouldn’t have. I won’t do it again. It was relaxing.
My mate and I went to the market and bought food. He cooked an amazing dinner. Unfortunately, I was very uncomfortable because I felt jealous that I couldn’t make the dish as well as he could. I need to learn to congratulate others on their accomplishments without bringing myself into the picture.
Later, I fell asleep very early, and I felt bad that my night ended early.
I woke up regretful for taking Xanax last night. I don’t know why I took it; I should not have done so. I feel so mad at myself. It’s not making me happier.
I’m just so confused.
Nonetheless, I met my buddy for our weekly Saturday brunch. My boys always help me feel better even though I don’t necessarily vent to them.
I went to the gym and did work all day, which was good and needed to be done.
We had people over for a pregame then we went to a party. I brought back a not so good looking girl, and now I just feel shitty with myself.
I know I can do better and I’m just making myself feel less worthy of what I want in life. Feeling angry and sad, ultimately leads to anxiety, making me incapable of getting off the couch.
I woke up and sat on the couch all day, feeling like shit. Shameful of the girl I had brought home the night prior. Why was I thinking so poorly of myself?
I have a lot of work to do that I was putting off because I was feeling shitty. I worsened the situation by getting high with my roommates. Completely felt like a loser all day.
I fell asleep at 7 pm and woke up at 2 am, unable to fall back asleep due to an excess of sleep the night before and being too anxious to be alone with my thoughts. Finally at 6 am I smoked pot to get myself tired, and fell asleep rather quickly.
I woke up in quite a haze today, however, Monday mornings have always been the best day of the week for me. After a weekend of fun (amongst other things), it’s my opportunity to get back on the grind and find fulfillment before the weekend crawls back and I succumb to my Neanderthalic cravings.
I’ve spent all day reading and doing work in my favorite cafe. I prepared a delicious meal with my roommates and will spend the rest of the night doing work and relaxing.
I love Mondays. Feeling totally good today.
Hit the gym, did homework, read, and studied. Also, I took a cold shower today. Life-changing moment. I was incredibly relaxed and more confident than usual. I ate well, and I am feeling good.
Studying with friends.
When I’m productive, I feel happier, more confident, and less anxious. Once I’m getting shit done, the anxiety goes away, and I feel great.
P.S. Cold Showers are amazing. Attempting the 30-day cold shower challenge!!”
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