Don’t worry, this article isn’t going to be about anxiety

Because that would be boring and self-involved, two things I definitely am not

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Back in December I had the joy of coming down with what was either some kind of major anxiety disorder or a vivid awakening to the fact that, at any given time, I could pass out, crack up or shit myself. Maybe everyone feels like that. Maybe I was weird before – but somehow I doubt it.

But as promised, I’m not going to talk about it here. It’d make rubbish content, for one – I remember before I started batting for Team Neurosis me and my lovely, non-anxious brain would view our snowflakish generation’s ceaseless whinging about the ‘mental illness’ thing with an air of smug, sane superiority. I am sure you – dear, well rounded Tab reader – do too.

Visual representation. Notice how aware he is of how shit he’s doing

But more importantly it’s because, as I am constantly reminded, anxiety is only perpetuated by constantly worrying about being anxious. It’s a cycle, see; like a whirlpool of self-fulfilment – you start wondering if something’s going to give you a panic attack or that you’re going bonkers because those things now happen in your life and BAM you can’t stop.

So yeah, I’m not going to let it get in the way of me having a good old time, cracking open a brewskie and writing my column. This article will be entirely anxiety free starting from… NOW

Hypothetically, it shouldn’t be all that difficult. I mean, literally 0% of the articles I wrote before January were about anx – the ‘a’ word. Aha. Whoops. Nearly had me there. Let’s try again.

It shouldn’t be hard. I’m a 21 year old male at the University of Cambridge: not only have I got opinions about everything, I feel entirely entitled to tell everyone about them. I’ve got so many opinions this article ought to write itself. Then I can go and get back to my degree.

My god do I need to get on with my degree. You know this Easter I’ve got to write a 15,000 word dissertation which I long ago realised was going to be total bullshit, another essay worth 7,000 words, revise for three papers and catch up on two supervision essays I didn’t do last term because I was so anxio –

Woah. Just caught myself. Ahem.

I’ve got a list of article ideas here. I guess I could just pick one of them. How about “Tinder is our generation’s failed attempt at a sexual revolution”?

The gist of it was going to be that, while Tinder sort of unspokenly sells itself as a casual sex, easy hookup app to follow Grindr, my opinion is that most of its users secretly tend to hope it can be a bit more; that most of the people on it sort of want to get into a relationship but are a bit too cool and not sure of what they want to go on a proper dating site. I suspect humans, when non-drunk, might say they’re into just fucking around but actually be fundamentally quite clingy.

Look at these clingy millennial types

The thing is, having talked to a few other people since coming up with the article idea, I’ve become more and more aware that maybe that’s not true. Like when I was out one evening at home we had to stop the taxi taking us home so a girl could go find a guy she’d matched with about 10 minutes earlier, she probably was not to talk about her favourite book of what Laura Marling’s ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ actually means to her.

In reality, my opinions might just be a reflection of my own clinginess. What if I lack a the fundamental bit of my brain that means I can be happy by myself?

Shit. Aaaah. God I’m a mess. I’ve got this vivid memory of my parents not letting me have more than one ice cream a day as a child. Maybe it’s all because of that? Maybe the ice cream represents a fundamental yearning for something more that, as an adult, I can’t let go?*

Am I going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life? What if I’m getting paid to do a job and I get hit by anxiety? Maybe I should give up my dreams of being the world’s first comedian-writer-astronaut and take up the job in my father’s fridge repair company he keeps offering because I can’t handle anything more. What if even the logistics of fridge repair are too much for my poor brain and I need to resign myself to living off discarded cans of Sainsbury’s Basics Baked Beans and sleeping in my parent’s bins forever?

This image is self explanatory

Hang on. I used the ‘a’ word didn’t I? Aw snap! It’s almost as if, even as I try really hard not to think about it, it always creeps back in and my train of thought spirals totally out of control. It’s almost as if I’m writing a stream of consciousness article in an implausibly obvious attempt to show you what I feel like at moment.

Frankly, it’s embarrassing. This is embarrassing. There I was, promising specifically to write an article about something other than anxiety, and here I am concluding an article about anxiety. Talk about misselling a product. I am so sorry, Tab reader. I hope you can find it in your infinite magnanimity to forgive me. Come back next week, when not only will I have definitely got over myself but will have something interesting to say, probably about Free Speech.

*Obviously childhood ice cream is not something I actually worry about. Haribo, on the other hand…