Tomorrow is the last day to submit an entry to Moment’s 2012 Elephant in the Room Contest, which asks: How has anxiety affected you, your family or the Jewish people in general? Three winners will each receive an iPad, and the winning essays will be published in Moment. This year’s contest is a partnership between Moment and the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety. Below are a few excerpts from some of the essays we have received so far; submit your own essay on the contest page here or via email at email@example.com.
“Jews have turned to God through the ages, to their laws, to their cultural life-ways, to their sacred texts–for all of these confer the comforting safety of boundaries. Yet the sturdiest of walls have gaps, and at the end of each day one is alone, facing the impenetrable unknowing at the root of anxiety, facing the God who seems to hide. In the wrenching tension of daily conundrums that confront me, I ever uncomfortably sense the gap between known moral principles and their applicability to the intricacies of my unique circumstances. In this cauldron of unfathomable unknowing merge the ingredients of anxiety, and the Jew who confronts it is Everyman. The child’s ghosts have become the adult’s ghosts, the child’s literal dark has morphed into the adult’s metaphorical dark.”
“The anxiety attacks begin when I get out of bed. How many I will have during a given day depends on a number factors; how long the day will be, the number of tasks to be completed, the relative importance of completing these tasks properly, and whether I have to drive or not. If I need to drive, I limit my dose of clonazepam to an amount that will hold off withdrawal symptoms without impairing my motors skills and reaction time. This dosage is does little or nothing to lower my anxiety level.”
“Anxiety is horribly inconvenient; among other things, it makes you late, it makes you afraid, it makes you rigid, it makes you jittery. You cannot think clearly nor move quickly when you are anxious. You investigate possible sources: stored trauma, scattered attention, new hormone levels, old relationships. Lowered expectations, raised hopes. “