I used to think that whenever my boyfriend was running late, he’d been hit by a car.
Well, not just him. All my loved ones, actually. If my parents’ flight had been delayed after a trip, I assumed it had crashed. If my sister wasn’t answering her phone, I thought she’d been abducted.
Paranoid thoughts plagued my mind every day. How long will it be before the police contact me? I’d think to myself. I knew my intense anxiety was ridiculous, but I didn’t know how to stop it.
It happened so often, planning funerals in my mind became routine. I rehearsed eulogies as habitually as I’d plan an outfit for the next day.
Like a lot of people, I didn’t do anything about it. Maybe it was silly, maybe it was just another part of the problem. Either way, I gradually accepted this was what my life would be like, and as best I could, learned to deal with my anxiety.
As lonely and unique as it can feel, this is actually an incredibly common problem. A study released this week, surveying more than 10,000 Australian women, found a “concerning number of women who dealt with anxiety. More than 40% of those surveyed said they had, at one time in their life, been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression.
The researchers also discovered that 60% of Australian women felt they weren’t doing enough physical exercise. As the survey director, Helen Brown admitted, this is “counter-intuitive”, considering physical activity is a known way to deal with anxiety.
That’s where my accidental cure comes in. When one day, the thoughts just…stopped.
At this point, I should say something. I am a vain person; some would even say narcissistic. And in the past, I’ve been told it’s a personal failing on my behalf. That obsessing over my looks is a waste of time (mine and other people’s).
But in this case, I disagree.
I credit my current state of good mental health to my vanity. Or, more specifically, my desire to have a Beyoncé butt.