Many people have dealt with anxiety but for some people, it is a daily struggle. For these people, myself included, anxiety isn’t a random annoyance faced when classes get tough. Anxiety is a demon that constantly, every waking moment, is there.
For me, it began in middle school. The anxiety came when I was nervous. While it was enough to make me sick to my stomach before a test, I never thought anything of it, because everyone deals with test anxiety. Once college began, it began to develop as a daily issue. I wasn’t able to sleep because I couldn’t manage to make myself quit worrying. When I showered, handfuls of hair would slide into the drain. I lost weight. I became sick to my stomach each day. My body was being affected to where it required medical attention. College had intensified my anxiety to the point where I was no longer myself.
Each moment, I worried. I worried about what I was going to eat, whether I was going to finish my homework due next week, that my friends were going to find new friends. I worried that I was going to become lonely. When I studied, I worried I wasn’t going to remember the material. During exams, I worried that I didn’t study enough. After exams, I worried I failed. I worried that I would disappoint my parents. I worried that God had forgotten me.
It didn’t matter if I truly believed these things. In the back of my mind, I knew my friends would never leave me. I knew that I would finish my homework in plenty of time. Nothing mattered, I always managed to find ways to get anxious about it.
When I wasn’t able to calm myself down, I would began to lose control. My breathing became shallow, my heart rate increased, I felt as though I was going to pass out.
When I explained this to my friends or family, many of them would tell me to “just stop worrying” or “just calm down”. Not realizing what they were doing, they were simply adding more anxiety. I would begin to get anxious because I couldn’t simply do what they were telling me.
It wasn’t until I began to see a doctor that I realized I had anxiety, a legitimate medical problem I will face for the rest of my life. I’ve learned that not everyone will understand what I go through every day.
Although I have been on medication and now see a doctor, I still deal with anxiety. I still occasionally open my agenda book, see everything I have to do, and began to hyperventilate. I still occasionally run out of class, get a breath of fresh air, and call my mom in tears.
Anxiety is something that many people face and are misunderstood or judged for it. No, we are not trying to be annoying when we ask a million questions. No, we do not believe that we are busier than everyone else. No matter the workload or person, those of us facing anxiety will always be overwhelmed. It is not something we can help.
I am tired of feeling ashamed for struggling with anxiety. I am proud to have my own struggles and to have a difficult and unique way of dealing with them. Anxiety is something that should be understood and acknowledged.
I am writing this article right now because an hour ago in the library, I was on the verge of an anxiety attack. Afterwards, I realized that I have been pushing my anxiety and it’s effects on my life away. I am proud to be who I am. I am proud to not be perfect.