Anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illness in the world. In fact, about 40 million people in America ages 18+ suffer from anxiety or panic disorder. If you are one of those 40 million, you are not alone.
I realized how my anxiety would change me as a sophomore in high school. I started to realize tests were something I dreaded, performances were no longer something I looked forward to, and conflicts were now the end of the world for me because it consumed my thoughts. At this time, I was being shown a tiny glimpse into a disorder that can become all consuming for some. I'm lucky because my anxiety stems from events - therefore, I can predict it by now. However, there are millions of Americans that are affected by debilitating forms of this disorder.
My anxiety peaked the first semester of my freshman year college. I was living alone for the first time, trying to find new friends, and struggling through a seemingly impossible major. I have such vivid thoughts of seeing test deadlines approach and welling up with fear and panic. The night before a test, I wouldn't sleep because my body wasn't done stressing. After months of anxiety over each test, finals approached and amplified everything. The last week of my fall semester, I laid in bed for six hours crying, going over and over the grades I would need to get in order to achieve a certain GPA and what I would do if I couldn't do it. School was no longer enjoyable, but something I dreaded to think about.
Social anxiety also affected me a lot my first semester. Being in a new place with not many familiar faces had a bigger impact on me than expected. I've always been outgoing and social, but a quick change in scenery took all that away. All of a sudden, every event and every gathering brought equal parts excitement and stress. I have always lived in the same city and had the same friends, and suddenly I was a small fish in a big pond.
As the year moved on, I met girls who are now my rock, found a major I am in love with (not so coincidently, psychology) and with the help of God, learned to control my anxiety. Life will happen and things will change, so my anxiety will never completely go away. But, I'm here to tell you that if you're one of the 40 million, you're not alone.