Zimbos abroad anxious over election results


ANTICIPATORY anxiety is where a person experiences increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future.
Rather than being a specific disorder in its own right, anticipatory anxiety is a symptom commonly found in a number of anxiety-related conditions, such as generalised anxiety.
Anticipatory anxiety can be extremely debilitating for people as it can last for months prior to an event. The worries people experience specifically focus on what they think might happen, often with catastrophic predictions about an event.
The nature of negative predictions about the event will be the difference between an anxiety level that is incapacitating or merely uncomfortable.
Zimbabweans could not sleep the whole night, their minds for the first time all fixed at home. The election fever was gone, then came the results fever. The social media was abuzz with fake news and that made the situation worse. Most people of different parties stewed in a depression mood due to the swinging mood of the social media and obviously some irresponsible leaders claiming this or that.
“They knew that time is now, but the place is not here. They are staying away from the present. You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for. The pains of being away from home at the time of national concern are heart-breaking. People need to be in the present and present in the decision of the future.”
Nothing gives one anxiety quite like waiting for things to happen. If one does not know how long he will be on line, stuck on a delayed election results announcement surrounded by those who are not on your side, you get very anxious.
Listening to the news and hearing the commentators was the worst. You know that no one likes to lose. People don’t like to be poked at or asked personal, embarrassing questions during the waiting period.
lt was this moment of waiting which united the Diaspora together. People who had never contacted each other will call and ask for the results.
Those who never spoke to others will ask for the news from home; all lines of communication were leading to Zimbabwe and indeed one could see how much the Diaspora yearns for a change in the mother land.
Being in a far away land all alone, unable to go anywhere, was one of the most frustrating experiences of Diaspora life.
They sat and waited. Looked at the phone for messages, flipped through TV channels for news and tried to stay warm. Looked at the clock time and again. Told oneself to just get up and leave. Looked at the clock again. Tap your fingers and before you know it, you are sick and it’s called anxiety.
Then it hit them, it was their very first anxiety attack.
‘When you have been in a lobby waiting and waiting, just to get some half-baked news, to wait and wait some more, your brain does funny things that work against you. It started to feel like you are going to be there forever, like there will be no results at all.’
The love of Zimbabwe is stronger than distance, the waiting period showed the true colours of Zimbabweans.
This made the cycle of waiting even worse. Then people began to do the math in their heads about how results would be and when they would come out. The connection with home becomes so close and so strong.
By the time results were announced palms were sweating. Most were probably a bit pale with legs shaking uncontrollably. They were fighting back tears of frustration, anger and stress.
The only thing that helped anxiety was staying present in the absence.
“When one thinks about being right there, right now, one also likes to think there is nowhere else one is meant to be. If I know that I am meant to be right where I am, I can stay there and not feel like I should be somewhere else or that I am wasting my time waiting for others,” commented Njabulo Sibanda who had spent the whole night waiting for the results to come.
Things happen that are out of our control every day. Sometimes you sit alone and are in your own head for two hours, feeling forgotten. But the bottom line is, you are away from home to benefit home.
If you can learn to acknowledge that you are right here, right now, for a reason, the thoughts that want to run wild in your head can be tamed, you can gain some control and you can control your anxiety.
The election fever and the waiting process affected those in the Diaspora more than those at home.
In the Diaspora, you don’t know whether to jump out and sing if you win or bottle it in. Being away from home at this time is emotional torture.
For views and comments, email: vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk


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