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“To be, or not to be, that is the question,” was spoken by Hamlet. But as an anxious person, I ask a lot more questions.

For a month, I have tried to sleep early and get ready for my new normal, which has nothing to do with Covid-19. I’ve tried my best to take the medications on time and not overwork myself and retire to my bedroom early.

I thought I was all right and might be ready to take a lower dose of one of the medications as my psychiatrist suggested two months ago. I wasn’t completely wrong. All went well. I was fine with the lower dose at first, but then out of the blue just came all the doubts in the entire universe.

Everything I used to think about over and over five months ago came back to say hi and decided to stay here in my head like it was their rightful place. The what-ifs. The just-in-case worries. And the fear.

Why am I still vulnerable to the things I thought I already came to terms with? Did it come back, or did it never leave?

As I told myself that I’ve understood them before and everything was now all right, a voice came so softly and distantly but still distinctively enough:

Is it? Is everything is really all right? How could you be so sure?

I saw my psychiatrist the other day, and she told me I could lower the dose of the other medication. Last month, that was all I ever wished for. I wanted to feel like myself again. I wanted to be done with all the medications, along with the side effects, and the one-hour sessions.

But then came all the questions I’d ever asked:

Am I ready? Am I even capable of being normal? What is normal?

And the most important question of all:

Should I stay or should I go?

I’m not naive by any means about my conditions, and I know that mental illness often comes back. Like an old friend who pays a visit and stays far too long than welcomed. Time and again, I’ve seen it happened with people around me. And I’m afraid as an average person might be afraid of something that haunts them. Only I, as a person with anxiety, feel it more.

Maybe I should think of anxiety as an old friend? Well, that’s another question.

— Petra