This is a post I wrote around a year ago for my high school blog. I was looking back on it and want to share…
Anxiety. It is one word. One tiny little seven letter word. But somehow, it manages to take complete control over me. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. For me it is a lot more complicated. It’s also not typically something that is easy for me to open up about, as it has such a large stigma attached to it. Which makes it so much harder to live with.
Anxiety has always been a part of my life. In fact, when I was born I was in the NICU for 16 days. Although the first day it was because of my health, my stay was prolonged because anytime another baby around me had a problem or their alarm went off, I would react. As illogical as it may seem, anxiety can be more than simply a feeling of fear. For many people, they have very real physical reactions. For me my reaction can be just a feeling of sadness or misplacement, but many times it is accompanies by physical reaction. My heartrate spikes, and I sometime have difficulty breathing. In addition to those lovely responses food becomes my enemy. Even the mention of eating and I will turn so pale, you may as well call me Casper.
As a senior in high school, there are so many things that are can be exciting. It is an adventure into your future. For the first time, you have complete control in what you want to do. The decisions you make are all yours. Although many days, these are simply exciting for me, sometimes
along the way my anxiety kicks in.
Being a 17-year-old, crying in class is one of the most embarrassing things. So of course, on Friday, my anxiety decided to strike right as I was about to walk into school. A nervous thought about my family and my future popped into my head, and unlike someone without anxiety, it was hard for me to just redirect my attention.
One of the hardest parts about anxiety for me is that it seems although you have two completely different thought processes. On one hand I can see that it is irrational for me to become so upset and scared that I literally cannot stop crying as I’m sitting in class. But on the other hand, there is some part of me that completely registers this thought as a fear, as something so real that it needs my full focus.
It may seem like I just completely embarrassed myself, crying at school in the first place, and sharing this now. But this is why. Having these thoughts are hard enough, never mind having to simultaneously freak out about what people are thinking about you or what they would say if they found out that you have anxiety and unfortunately this is a pretty common part of your life. The stigma around mental health is so detrimental, and the only way to overcome it is by speaking up. I have an anxiety disorder, but it doesn’t define me. It allows me to see how many people in my life truly care, and support me.