Anxiety Does Not Equate To Weakness
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Anxiety Does Not Equate To Weakness

Grow to love the panic.

Anxiety Does Not Equate To Weakness

Anxiety seems to be one of the more prominent things I write about. And why shouldn’t it be? I’m a nervous guy, people. Haven’t you figured that out?

I was prescribed medication about a year ago, but that took me down some dark paths. After it essentially depleted all my creative drive, I decided it was time to stop. It wasn’t worth it. I was lethargic, coming out of my room solely for the bathroom and ramen. I stayed in bed a lot; I was lucky I passed my classes. But, I’m happy to say, even after experiencing several months of “brain zaps” and other withdrawals, Brandon has returned to his former self, as anxious as ever. I’m even more thrilled to say that I’ve grown to love the panic.

No one should have to feel ashamed for undergoing anxiety. It’s debilitating for some, while easily controlled in others; it’s an internal struggle, making it difficult to talk about openly. I, for one, previously viewed myself as an uncomfortable meat bag with little to no talent until I externally shifted my perception. Friends, family, even folks I don’t even personally converse with, believe I have achieved an insurmountable amount in my short, 22 years. And I’m beginning to think that they’re right.

I have created, performed, loved, lost, climbed mountains of knowledge, and, occasionally, inspired. Without gloating to the extreme, these are no easy feats.

It takes an immense amount of guts to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. But, if everyone were to hide under a blanket for eternity, nothing would ever get done.

Imagine if Jon Stewart were to never get that high from telling his first joke. What if he didn’t have the chutzpa to get on stage after he bombed several nights before? There would be no Daily Show with Jon Stewart, a program that encouraged so many to follow in his comedic footsteps. There would be no decent cameo in Half Baked – the only decent cameo in Half Baked. No Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History that provided me with these ideas. How would the art of political satire be without him?

But Jon Stewart is just one guy in one medium of entertainment. Think about music. No musician ever initially performed in front of an audience without that terrible feeling of but what if I fail?

No one knows they have it in them until they do it. Even thinking about doing something deviant – from norms set by society and parents - is courageous.

Yes, I focus on the entertainment side of things because I, too, relish the moment people laugh at me, whether I intend it or not. But, the great thing is, these stomach and mind anxieties in question are not exclusive to performance or writing; they can surface from something as straightforward as applying for a job.

Don’t keep doing something you hate just because you feel like you should; do something about it because you want to. Apply for something that you would enjoy, perhaps one that you believe you’d have to work hard to maintain. Monotonous work isn’t rewarding; go for the unattainable until it’s attained.

Are you a female concerned some passerby will judge you if you’re not in your best dress tied together with that Michael Kors handbag/wallet combo? Then, fuck; go to the gas station in your pajamas. Get a carton of Marlboro Reds. Confront the norm; don’t be it. Smoke a cigarette if you want to (I highly suggest that you don’t take that last bit of advice into consideration).

Then, of course, there is college, the very thought of it being a challenge in and of itself. On one hand, you have the desire to succeed through the lens of your parents. They want you to go, get a decent job, make them proud. But maybe you don’t want to. Perhaps you’re under the impression that traveling across state borders in a Volkswagen is the ultimate experience of life. So, go.

Task a risk. Embrace your inner anxiety, because I have it and I know you do, too.

Don’t settle, friends; do something that makes you enjoy life, but never feel comfortable doing it. There is a thrill in being an anxious wreck. Nervousness is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you’re doing something right.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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