When Anxiety Rears Its Ugly Head

When Anxiety Rears Its Ugly Head

My anxiety is like a monster from under my bed, but it’s with me all the time, always lurking in the back of my mind.
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You remember the monster from under your bed from when you were a child? The one that you were so sure was there but whenever your parents would look it suddenly disappeared? And as soon as they walked away, it was back to taunt you and keep you awake for seemingly all night with fear.

Now I know that monsters aren’t real in the physical sense, but let me tell you, living with anxiety really feels like you’re being haunted.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Kylie, quit being so dramatic, we all get a little worried sometimes.” But that’s not what I’m talking about.

We throw the word anxiety around so much that it’s beginning to lose all meaning. I’d go so far as to say that stress is glorified in today’s world.

But you’ll never catch anyone with an anxiety disorder bragging about how worried they are, and how much they have on their plate. And let me tell you why.

My anxiety is my biggest bully. It’s the monster from under my bed, but it’s with me all the time—always lurking in the back of my mind.

It whispers in my ear, a constant nagging that never goes away.

It’s not that I can’t handle criticism, it’s that I’m the first and the only one to put myself down.

It turns me against myself.

It tells me you hate me.

That for some reason I’ve done something to annoy you. That I’m an annoying person.

That you’ve moved on and no longer are interested in me.

How could I have been so stupid to think you were interested in the first place?

I can hear it laughing whenever I start to feel the slightest bit confident in myself. “You think they actually want to be your friends? Just you wait, it won’t last long.”

And just like that, one insecurity spirals into the oh-so-familiar pit of worries. One concern leading to a larger worry and a larger one, until I can’t take it and eventually I’m pacing back and forth. My body is shaking, and I can’t recognize my voice when I snap at my family that I’m fine.

It creates a monster out of me, a reflection of itself.

My heart rate slows and my muscles relax. He’s gone.

He hides for a while, but his job is far from done.

I can see him in the stressors around me. The food I don’t want to eat, the fear of rejection, not being good enough, and the feeling of being forgotten.

Anxiety never goes away. It’s something I deal with on a daily basis. Some days are better and some are worse.

But there’s always an upside, I suppose. I’ve hit rock-bottom, and I know I’m never going to let myself slip so far again.

Never again will I contemplate suicide or cry looking in the mirror. I’ve learned that my anxiety isn’t something to be ashamed of, and I don’t have to hide it.

Those who love you will accept you and embrace your imperfections, including the monsters you carry with you.

Cover Image Credit: Kylie Hofmeister

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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Sorry, Real Life Doesn't Have A "Safe Space" For Your Excuses

Your excuses are invalid. Take responsibility for your actions.

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If I had a penny for every time I heard a college student use a pathetic excuse to get out of something, I would be a millionaire. It seems like every other person I meet these days has zero sense of responsibility in life. They're too sensitive, too unmotivated and just all around lazy. What's up with that?

Something that I don't think a lot of college students realize is that when this is all over, you get thrown out into the real world. You can't email your boss asking for project extensions; they will laugh in your face. You can't use "I have anxiety" as an excuse to get out of doing something. You can't get butthurt every time your boss comes down on your for not doing adequate work. That is life.

Sorry, but real life doesn't have a safe space for you. Your future employer won't baby you and hold your hand every step of the way. You won't be able to call in sick and skip work 3 times a week like you skip class. The real world has expectations and believe it or not, they are WAY more grueling than college.

People will judge you. You will get yelled at by your boss. Hard deadlines will be expected to be met. If you can't deal with it now, good luck to you out there because it only gets harder. I understand that everyone has their own issues in life, but if other people can get past theirs enough to work hard and be successful, your excuse is simply that: an excuse.

Life was never meant to be easy. The whole reason we applied to college was to be challenged and readied for our future careers. I will bet that almost every college student promised themselves they would work harder in college. Giving excuses isn't working harder, it's looking for the easy way out. The easy way might seem better in the short run, but it teaches you nothing and prepares you for nothing. Not to mention, people will get to know you as "that one moron that always has an excuse to not do their work." I don't know about everyone else, but that is the LAST way I would want to be known.

Instead of making an excuse, work harder. Be responsible. Meet deadlines, do your work early, manage your time. It really is simple when you look at it that way. Yeah, life gets stressful. Are you going to be the person who begs for their "safe space" and cries or are you going to get going and do what needs to be done? I know which person I would hire, that's for sure.

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