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Life, The Handy Dandy Guide

When You Tell Someone With Anxiety To Calm Down

Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified person to talk about this. I’m just telling my own experiences with the hope that this will clarify things to those fail to understand anxiety.

Things come and go, except for anxiety. Anxiety has been your companion throughout the years. And even though lately you’ve been extremely proud of yourself because you’ve been less anxious, people who don’t know you well (read: co-workers, classmates and people that you’ve met lately) still see you as a little ball of anxiety. You radiate anxiety to them, or something.

You’ve mastered the art of the check-check-double-check because you check things once, twice and even 10 times just to make sure nothing is wrong. Because when something surprisingly happens, it gives you stress! Anxiety!

But anxiety isn’t just “stress”. You can’t just “relax”, even though you know deep down inside that “everything will be all right”. It’s how your mind functions. Anxiety isn’t a choice, it’s a part of who you are. 13963f9f3ecf64da40138d5aaa136fa4

Either you’re born with anxiety or you’ve been through a trauma as a kid or later in life, you know that anxiety is uncontrollable. No matter how hard you try to block out those thoughts, you can’t.

Anxiety: an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future.

Anxiety starts innocently. It’s humane to worry and stress. That’s how our ancestors survived everything. Worrying about things that endanger you is natural. But sometimes, instead of controlling it, anxiety controls you. It takes over you, your life and your mind and there’s no way out. You overthink everything and you worry about everything. When anxiety strikes, it’s like having a tunnel vision and you’re only focusing on what could go wrong. It becomes obsessive. Your mind works faster than the speed of light, doing it utmost to figure everything out that could go wrong.

The next step is freaking out. Now your mind is falling in a deep, deep hole trying to hold on anything. Gasping for air, you’re trying to smile casually as if nothing is happening inside of you. “1,2,3, breath, repeat” you tell yourself. But your mind is still running in circles, trying to figure out how to get itself out of this.

Step three is when your mind comes up with something and you try your best to convince yourself that this the ultimate solution.

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You can’t control this process. People will always say “relax” or “stress isn’t good for you”, you look at them and wonder if they really think you don’t want to help yourself. That you’re making it all up. That freaking out over the slightest things is your hobby. That you love attention, when attention is the last thing you want because it gives you anxiety.

Words like “relax” and “calm down” make you more anxious. Because you always try not to show your anxiety. Times and times again you tell myself that you don’t want to give fucks no more. That whatever happens, happens for a reason. That you can’t control everything.

It’s not lack of intelligence. It’s not depression. It’s just what it is.

And you know what? it works, sometimes. The “1, 2, 3, breathe, repeat” thing works every now and then. When you tell yourself three honderd times a day that you’ll no longer care about the smallest things, you start to believe it eventually. But not always. Sometimes your mind switches off all sensible thinking and starts freaking out. And it’s not due to lack of intelligence. It’s not depression. It’s just what it is. It’s anxiety.

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Criticism, Life

Parents, get your kids off their iPads!

“Have you got games in your phone?”, she asked 3.000 times and after each I answered, real annoyed and looking desperately towards her parents, “No, I’ve got this cellphone for over 3 years and it crashes every 5 seconds. It won’t survive a game”. I really hoped that her parents would get the hints but they just looked at her proudly. She’s little, has curly hair and life seems impossible without her iPhone. How can she lives without it when she’s had one at 4?

I get it! Parents want the best for their kids. My parents did the same. They got me everyhting i wanted because they loved me. What did they get back? A whining, crying monster who wouldn’t stop crying whenever she didn’t get what she wanted. It took me years of war and not having a specific place to call “home” to realize that my parents aren’t always in control of everything. They can’t get me what I want whenever I want.

The Iraq war has changed me and mould me into a whole new, maybe better, person. But not every kid is “fortunate”, in this sense, to go through what I went through to learn what I learned. When I look at the kids nowadays I can only think of how shitty they will be as adults. And who’s to blame? You, parents!

You don’t have to say “No” all the time. You don’t have to shout and hit. You don’t have to be strict (all the time). Children deserve to be encouraged and rewarded when they “do good stuff”. But if you’ve never said “No” to your kids, someday they’ll grow up and get a zillion “No” and that will be quite a shock, trust me. A 4-year-old does NOT need an iPhone. Why on earth does a toddler need an iPhone. There you have my cousin who’s in first grade and has her daddy’s old phone. She commented the other day on one of my aunts posts with a selfie. A selfie where she did her crossed eyes thing (Idk where she learnt that from). This selfie will haunt her for the rest of her life. But my cousin, and the regrets she’ll have to deal with when she grows up, isn’t the only one. If your kids’ age consists of one number, then they’re probably too young to own a cellphone.

Yes, you can help your kids with their problems. After all, kids are just those little, unexperienced human beings who need some guidance. But don’t expect them to learn how to solve their own problems, if you’re doing it for them.

There’s this arabic proverb that goes like: “In the eye of his mother, a monkey is a gazelle”. Of course, parents always think that their children are perfect. But they’re NOT!. Nobody is perfect, remember? But if the idea of being perfect is ingrained in your kids mind, they’ll grow up to be (you guessed it!!) shitty adults. Because who loves being around someone who think too high of themselves? Not me! So next time your beloved son or daughter gets in a fight (I know because I’ve been in a lot of them) with their cousins, friends or classmates, just leave it to them to solve. Trust me after 20 minutes they’ll be best buddies again. Talk to them! show them what they did right and what they did wrong. But please, for your own children’s sake, don’t tell them that they’re holy and flawless.

There’s nothing wrong with loving your children. But life isn’t all roses and sunshine. Your children will have to learn how to take on responsibilities. They will have to know that they might sometimes be wrong and how to fix their own problems by themselves instead. Your kids worth much more than playing all day long Xbox or scrolling down their social media. Your kids deserve love. Real love. not material love. Give them what they truly need and they will thank you when they grow up.

Criticism, Life

One Love Manchester Thing!!

Just came back from my vacation. A week full of adventures and crappy internet. And I’m shocked! I’m shocked by the “One Love Manchester”. In case you follow the news and don’t live on Mars then you’ve heard of the tragic Manchester terror attack. Totally heartbreaking. Not just for the young people who died but also for their families and loved ones and of course for Ariana as well. And the thought of Ariana willing to do something for the victims of this horrific terror attack is plausible. The thing is I don’t think dancing half-naked on stage will make a change. It definitely won’t bring the lives of those teenagers back. I don’t think either that the parents of the victim were jumping up and down because Ariana will pay for the funerals. Because, “well, we’ve lost our child, but you know what? Everybody will die someday and at least we don’t have to pay for the funeral.” 

When the terror attack first happened and the UK raised its threat level to critical (22 may 2017), I commented on a post on Facebook saying that this will only last for couple of days and then the world, and the UK, will move on and life will go on as if nothing has happend. Then the whole cycle will start all over again. Per usual I got tons of hate comments on my pessimistic thoughts.  On the 26th of may 2017, and just four days later, the UK reduced its threat level from critical to severe. The following days the UK must have reduced its threat level to nil because nothing has happened. And BAM! the 3rd of June; there was, yet again, another terror attack in London that led to the death of at least 7 (!!!!!) people and the injury of dozens more.

Well, Ariana and Miley won’t you twerk some more while singing side to side (which is obviously about sex (too much of it actually) and I think that it’s totally inappropriate to sing it in memory of those who have lost their lives in the Manchester terror attack) while the government sit back and enjoy the misery of our world? How many lives have to be lost before we actually do something about them instead of our “pray for *insert place name*” tweets.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first one who’ll pray for the lives of those killed in any terror attack unregarded of their faith, ethnicity, nationality or gender. I’ll be the first one to change her profile picture to a new profile picture with the flag of the country where a terror attack has happened. But I’m tired. Tired of doing nothing. Tired of living in fear while others are being killed, shot dead or stabbed. Knowing that I or one of my loved ones might be next. I’m tired of expressing our sorrow and fear for those terror attacks only through our tweets, instead of our actions. I’m tired of checking my social media every morning and finding that there was yet another terror attack somewhere in the world and people breathed their last breathes in pools of blood while I was sleeping. I’m tired of this chaos.

Criticism, feminism

Dear Amber Rose!!

Dear Amber Rose,

First off, how do you stay in shape like that? I’m 13 years younger than you and don’t look just as good!

Second, would you please stop telling (young) girls to hoe around? No, I’m not slut shaming and you do have the complete freedom to do whatever you want. I’m only concerned about the girls and woman who take you as a role model and sleep with every guy that buys them drinks. See, I’m not going to talk about STD’s etc etc, because everybody knows the risks. And I bet you’ve heard of “if he takes his condom off, then it’s rape” (aka stealthing). I don’t know what you think about this, but we all know one thing for sure if he takes it off (and he’s positive), then the chances of you getting an STD is 100%.

But, we’ll leave this aside because we have another issues to tackle here. Because what if the guy you’re sleeping with and don’t even know his name turns out to be a serial killer. Yes, this does happen in real life and not just a scenario straight out of a thriller. How many prostitutes were murdered while they were on duty? And, i’m not comparing you to prostitutes, after all they do it for money, but this kind of stuff do happen. What if he rapes you? What if he doesn’t stop when you say so? What if, in most fortunate cases, he turns out to be a thief that robs you of your money and everything you have. Isn’t that something that you should be telling girls to take into consideration?

What about feelings? What if, even though you repeatedly tell yourself that you’re just a hoe who has no feelings, butterflies start dancing in your belly. Because, last time I checked, science does say that you have feelings that you can’t always control. Has to do with hormones, you know.

In a perfect world, you’d be able to hook up with every guy (or girl) you know and don’t know. But, alas, reality is different. Reality is harsh.

So next time, you show some bum and tell your fans to hoe around and have no care in the world, tell them to take those things first into consideration.

feminism, Life

The Female Privilege?

I grew up in a family where going to the university is normal. It started 3 generations ago and we kept this tradition. Except for my cousin who got married at 18 right after graduating from high school. Getting marry early is obviously not our (family) thing as well. Don’t get me wrong. If you’re not into school, don’t go to school. If you think you’ve found the one, go ahead marry him and have ten kids with him if you want to. We can argue about finding “the one” at 18, because I don’t really believe that there’s such thing as “the one” and not at 18. Since I turned 18, I’ve met many “great” guys who turned out to be douchebags after a while. But that’s just me and I have a love hate relationship with guys. The main point is; if you want to do something, do it and vice versa.

Though, the thing that bugs me when it comes to my cousin that she never has a say about what she wants. He decided that she’s not going to school, because he wants kids. He decided that she’s not going to post pictures of herself on Facebook because sir can get really jealous if her guy friends liked her pictures (even though she had to block like 99% of them). See, I don’t post that many pictures of me on social media, only if I went to a special event or traveled somewhere I’d literally bombard you with pictures (most of them of places and nature). But I know my cousin and I know how much she loves taking pictures and sharing them with people. That was literally her hobby. I’d get it if he chose not to share much on social media for privacy (I still don’t get why, but we’ll just go with it), but he changes his profile picture every week. EVERY WEEK! Even teenagers don’t do that.

Talking about female privilege; isn’t it important to make sure that our marriages are  healthy? That both of them are compatible? That both of them get to decide how their life is going to look like. The reason why I’m a half feminist is because feminists, somehow, always want women to have the upper hand in a relationship. But that wouldn’t make a healthy relationship as well. Compatibility is the key, I guess!

(If you’re wondering how a healthy relationship should look like, take a look at this image below that I found somewhere on Pinterest)

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Life

Thou Shall Not Worry!!!

Today was an emotional day. I had my med entrance exam and just being there made me feel so small. I mean, all those people (competitors, shall I say?) were athletes, did internships in hospitals and travelled the world and I was there with my 5 months experience as a volunteer in a nursing home.

I’m not the one to lose hope easily, but let’s just say that I need a miracle to get in. Yes, I cried afterwards. Yes, I’m crying right now. It’s just that this is all I’ve ever wanted. Anyhow, I’m writing this not to bore you. I was thinking. If there’s something that I’ve learned in the last 21 years, is that sometimes we worry about things. It’s natural. But our worries and problems that seems huge now, will not be as big a year from now. A year from now, you’ll not be the same. Your life will not be the same. Life can take different turns. You Can’t Predict Life! And you may love it or hate it, but that’s how it’s.

So next time you feel that your problems are too big, give yourself some time. Cry. Wipe your tears. Cry some more. And finally set your goals straight and focus on the things that you can control.

Love

My Prince Won’t Come!

Every year we have this great holiday where people in relationships remember this tiny fact and decide to buy their “loved ones” a rose while people like me just sit in the corner and wonder what’s wrong with us. We call it Valentine’s day and it’s on the 14th of February.

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See, this is the 21st Valentine’s day that I spend in my lonesomeness (Where is my Genesis Award?). For the last couple years it’d always felt so lonely, I must admit. For the last 20 years I’ve been telling myself that someday my prince will come. That’s what Snow white told us all, right? On days like this I used to get really frustrated. Why does it take my prince that long? The thing is not everybody gets a prince, you know. It’s like winning the lottery. We all wish if it’d be us. Mom tells me that i’m still too young to give up. It’s just that it no longer matters. Why spend your whole life waiting for prince charming, when you can have fun on your own, right?

This year, as the 14th of February approaches, I’ll just buy myself some chocolate and roses like a real lady boss.

Life

You Can’t Predict Life!

Growing up, I’d always dreamed of my sweet sixteen party. Balloons, friends and most definitely a boyfriend. By then i’ll be over 1,70 m (5,7 ft.) because my sister is tall. When i finally turn 16 i’ll dye my hair red as in “Rihanna red”. When i turned 16, we’d just moved to a new country. I had no friends there and lost almost all connections with all “old friends”. I  didn’t have a boyfriend and was waiting for my body to grow taller than 1,60 m. My hair wasn’t dyed red and will probably never be red. I celebrated my sweet sixteen with  my parents and sister (which was really enough to make me feel blessed) and I was allowed to drink beer. You see, life takes weird turns and things that you take for granted now aren’t so guaranteed. If there’s one thing i’ve learned in the last four years then it’s to never expect a lot and plan a lot. It’s somehow good to have plans (and back-up plans) but always, always, always remember there’s no guarantee. So you might just as well live in the moment and not care (too much) about what’s yet to come because, dear, life is so unpredictable.

feminism

Why I’ll Never Be A Hairy Feminist?

The other day I was at the swimming pool. Just soaking up the sun and enjoying my two favorite things about summer: the sun and new bikini’s (especially when it’s mint-green!). Then, I saw it. There it was. Oh God, I missed a spot. how can it be!! When i woke up earlier that day- and even though it was a Saturday and I never wake up early on Saturdays- to shave my legs, I somehow missed a spot. “Can they see it? Oh God, what if they can see it? Does anybody here have a razor? A tweezer would do! Hey you, hello, do you have a razor? Why don’t you answe.. oh wait you can’t hear me. Probably it’s for my own benefit that you can’t. Probably you don’t see it. Probably no one can see it. But what if they do!!” All those thoughts kept running through  my mind at the speed of light. Till a comforting thought jumped into my thoughts swirl and made me feel better about my unshaved spot: feminists never shave. I had peace for the rest of the day thinking like that. Till I lay in bed that night and start thinking: shaving is not bad at all. Not if you’re doing it for yourself. I know that society tells us to shave every single hair on our body even before we can see it. Guys don’t like hairy girls. I know because every single guy I know has made a joke about a girl with a “mustache”. Of course we, women, feel the pressure to shave when everyone is telling us to shave and that no one will ever like us if we have our armpits unshaved. Sad but it’s true. But then again I can’t live my life knowing that my armpits are unshaved. I can’t wear short skirts without shaving my legs, not because I’m supposed to, but it’s just I love silky, hairless legs. And the worst part is when it’s that time of the month if you know what i mean. yeeks!

yes, I’m a feminist but I still shave. Not for the world. Not for the boys. Not for anyone, but for me! And I’ll keep doing it for me.

Life

A billion reason to be thankful for

Recently I got a friend request on Facebook from a childhood friend that I haven’t spoken to in over 10 years. It turned out that she was looking for me on Facebook, twitter etc. That’s exactly what I was doing. I even messaged someone with the same name asking if she was who I thought she was. Weird, I know. She didn’t respond though. Anyway, back to my friend: we caught up for a while. You know, what we’ve been up to and life in general. I still remember very well how she just vanished: one day her father, who was a journalist, just got abducted from their own home in front of her mother and two younger brothers and they never heard anything about him again. They, then, had to flee their home for a safer place and that’s when I stopped hearing from her. Till now. This got me thinking about my life in general. Even though I’m pretty an optimistic person, I do get caught up sometimes in the spiral of negativity: I’m not enough, no one loves me and I do not have enough red lipsticks (which is certainly not true, I assure you, I have enough red lipsticks for the rest of my life). But you know what? I live in a safe place, I have a loving family and friends, I get to do things that I love and enjoy, I have a job and even though It’s part-time but I get paid enough to buy more red lipsticks (and nudes because they’re my new obsession). I have a billion reason to be thankful and so does my friend, whose dads’ fate is still unknown, because she still has the rest of her family. So do you. You’ve probably been ungrateful in some period of your life and maybe you’re right now in one of those times. Always remember though: you have a billion reason to be thankful for.

This is an invitation for you to take the time today to think about all the blessing in your life. Probably on your way home or before going to bed.

PS: I was born and raised in Baghdad and such things (read: kidnaps) are very common there, that they’re almost normal. well, “normal”! They’re certainly not normal because it still affects you in a way or another. Your heart still aches and you always shed a tear when you hear about them. It’s just that people there are so used to it, that they’ve almost become numb… if that makes sense.