Anjali Managing Anxiety

The Beginning

I am extremely sensitive about my relationships. Back in school, my friends and family mattered more than the ranks and grades I was awarded for my consistent performance. I noticed that my academic credentials made everyone happy. That was my cue; I put myself under tremendous pressure to the extent that my grades dropped and I failed in one of the exams. This pushed me into a cycle of self doubt and frustration. Anxiety kicked in at the slightest of discomfort. I built an unhealthy cycle with anxiety in the desperation to make others happy.

Managing Anxiety

After months of not being able to eat or sleep, I broke down sometime towards the final year of my engineering education. I called up my teacher from school and vented out. She advised I drop anything that doesn’t make me happy. I wanted to start afresh. In spite of the knowledge that it is going to upset my parents terribly, I quit engineering and took up a course in literature. This became my escape; friends and faculty there were too kind. Many understood my struggle with anxiety and put me in touch with a counsellor. Gradually, my parents started coming around to accept my decision.

Anjali Managing Anxiety

Discovering Baking

My grandmother had been my rock through it all. Her fondness for cooking drew me into the kitchen. With her encouragement, I took up baking. The business started thriving, but it was a bit too much for the rest of the family. From engineering to arts/literature and now baking, they thought I am lost and wasting time. The anxiety started kicking in again and grew after my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer.

Helping her through, was one of the toughest things I had to do. I secured admission at the best (arguably) culinary school in the world, but I couldn’t leave my grandma when she needed me the most. We lost her last year.

Over the past few months, I have noticed my unhealthy habits and managed to follow a schedule that helps me keep my focus. Baking has and will always be my solace. I have my dark days, but I am learning to see the light. Leaving anxiety behind is going to take a while, but I am developing the patience now.

Anjali Managing Anxiety

Life can be as pretty and sweet as cakes, we must build a society sensitive enough to understand and reach out.

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You may also be interested to read about Soumya Tripathi: Living with Thalassemia



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