“I was painting the town red with my crew, and everything was fine, until I felt a lump rising in my throat. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk or socialise — I physically couldn’t. I stammered an excuse and left without even finishing my drink. You know when you’re on a rollercoaster and feel your stomach drop? It felt like that, out of nowhere — and all I could think about was: What the f**k is happening?” Jane* was diagnosed with anxiety two years ago, after spending a year suffering horrible bouts like that in silence. But she told herself that it was ”just a phase”; after all, she had just turned 25 and it was probably just a hit of the quarter-life crisis... right? She figured it would pass after recharging over a long weekend.
But it didn’t, and spiralled into something worse. She began to withdraw from her usually thriving social life, choosing to spend more time alone and at home for fear that another bout would trigger while Instagramming over brunch. She once even went to the hospital thinking she was having a panic attack.
She had often heard of the famous midlife crisis, and the even more infamous quarter-life crisis, so she chalked it up to that. ”But it got the point where I thought I would just quit my job, move back to Penang, and work in the coffee shop that I was working in when I was in high school,” Jan recounted. “That&r