To My Anxiety, You Will Be Left Behind in 2017

To My Anxiety, You Will Be Left Behind in 2017

From the girl who finally found her voice.
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I'm what you could classify as "high functioning" with my mental illness. I've had it for years. My doctors have warned my parents and me dozens of times that they suspected that something wasn't quite right.

However, I've always managed to handle the pressures with a relatively calm exterior.

I thought that meltdowns every few weeks alone in my room were normal. I kept myself busy with all of the nervous energy. One second I'd be handling it fine and the next my palms were sweaty and I couldn't breathe because I was suddenly overwhelmed with the idea that I wasn't good enough and that no matter how hard I tried, I'd never reach my goals.

I hid behind smiles and buried myself in my work and schooling. I never thought for a second that anything was wrong, however.

I never let myself show others that I had problems because there wasn't a reason to. I was still smiling, I still had a 4.0 GPA and had a bright future in front of me, and that's what mattered, right?

Wrong.

I've always had problems with trusting people. I've had one best friend my entire life and other than her, I never really trusted myself to love anyone until I had my first serious relationship in my junior year of high school.

Slowly, but surely, letting down my walls to someone caused something in me to release, causing my emotions to be a wreck. It started becoming harder and harder to control my emotions and handle the everyday pressures of life.

Since the start of my senior year getting into my car and crying at the end of the school day became a regular practice.

Why was I crying?

I honestly couldn't tell you.

I withdrew from my friendships, my relationships and my family. I pushed others away to avoid the fear of them treating me differently and seeing me as nothing more than my mental problems.

Instead of admitting to myself that something was wrong and seeking help, I let myself suffer in silence, hoping that someone or something would magically pull me out of the hole I dug myself.

They saw, but when they asked I denied it. When I did finally admit it, I refused to seek help. I didn't want a label on it, and I didn't want to accept the fact that I needed anyone other than myself.

I went from having a panic attack every few weeks to having them multiple times a week by the end of our relationship.

When my boyfriend and I broke up because I couldn't be around him without retreating into myself and becoming silent, I needed change. It took me breaking down in the middle of school and walking through the hallways crying to ask my mom for help, finally, and I'm so glad I did.

My doctor tells me I’m “high functioning.”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of success and reaching my goals. Teachers would tell my parents that I had a bright future and would do big things with my life.

It all started at the age of four when I walked into my living room and declared that I would teach myself to read and tie my shoes before I went into kindergarten. Sure enough, I was the only four-year-old in my preschool class that could read chapter books by the time I graduated.

Throughout my school career, I received straight A’s and had a 4.0 average. I got invited to dozens of conferences, study abroad programs and summer programs at colleges and universities. Still today, people tell me I’m “wise beyond my years.”

I was always able to produce high-quality work in a minimal amount of time and make even the hardest of tasks look effortless. From an outsider’s perspective, I had brains and was destined for success.

What they didn’t see was that I was constantly worrying about the expectations set for me from such a young age and that I was slowly cracking under pressure.

Cut to my junior year of high school.

In the first month of the year, I got a concussion at cheerleading practice in an unfortunate bear-crawling incident that rendered me unable to read paragraphs and write more than a sentence without getting a splitting headache and losing my vision for over a month.

I fell behind in my schoolwork, and my straight A’s turned into B’s, and in my mind, my future was over. I cried for around two hours after I received my very first “C” on a test.

Many of my friends were envious of me, and my biggest fear was being labeled average.

By the end of my junior year, I received the lowest letter grade I have ever gotten in a class (B) and the lowest weighted GPA out of my entire high school career (a 94.5, which is considered a 4.0). Eventually, my efforts burned out, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t perform how I had wanted to.

I distracted myself all summer. I hung out with my boyfriend, planned trips with my friends and ended up working two jobs by the end of the summer. I needed things to keep my mind off of the fact that come September, I would have to face the reality of underperforming for the entirety of my junior year.

Whenever I was alone and had to sit with that fact, I would end up crying and unable to breathe. Whether it was in my car on the way to or from work or one of the rare times my friends and boyfriend were unable to talk to me because of other commitments, I was a mess.

By the time my senior year rolled around in September 2017, I was no stranger to mental breakdowns multiple times a week. For the entire month of October, I drove out of the school parking lot crying every single day.

Despite regaining my straight A’s, I was worried that I wouldn’t get into any of the schools I wanted to. I became extremely depressed, and when I would realize that there were deadlines I had to meet and responsibilities to fulfill, I would kick into overdrive, put on a happy face and walk around like nothing was wrong despite the fact that I couldn’t breathe and felt the urge to cry wherever I went.

I didn’t tell anybody how I felt.

I isolated myself in every relationship I had, which turned out to be detrimental. I felt alone in my school of 2,000 students. I cried during school more in the first three months of my senior year than I did during the entirety of my elementary school career. I was a hot mess as the kids would say.

My biggest mistake was letting my trust issues take over. I didn’t tell anyone how much I was struggling; I didn’t want them to view me differently. The few people that did know never knew the extent to which I was hurting because I never let them see.

I would walk around in silence until I had to put on a show for the other people around me. People would make assumptions, and I let these assumptions control who I was and how I viewed myself. I didn’t want any labels on how I felt, and I certainly didn’t want help from anyone else.

I’m independent, and I like to do things on my own.

It took me breaking down in the middle of the hallway and walking to my journalism class crying in my friend’s arms. I texted my mom.

I needed help from someone other than me. My anxiety was controlling my life.

In 2017, I fell in and out of love. I was somehow both the happiest and saddest that I've ever been, and I learned a lot about myself and my relationships. I lost people I never thought I would and met people that I can't imagine life without right now.

In 2018, I'll officially become an adult, and I'll be moving to college three hours away from where I've grown up my entire life. I have no option but to move on.

I refuse to let my anxiety control my life ever again.

From the outside, I looked like I had everything together. I had great grades, was involved in school and I had great friends and a great boyfriend. When I lost it all because I let my mind control my life, I didn’t know how to react. I ignored it until it refused to shove to the side.

I’m still working on things. However, I’m happier. I’m more at peace with myself, and I refuse to let something define me that wants nothing more than to ruin my life.

In 2018, I’m accepting the fact that sometimes, you need other people. I’m embracing the fact that I’m more than my mental illness, and I’m working towards making my tomorrows better than my yesterdays. In 2018, I’m leaving my anxiety behind in 2017.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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8 Things You Should Know about being a Server

"Some of my customers make me want to print this out and staple it to their foreheads."

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I wrote this out of frustration of the ones who don't know what it's like to be a sever.

This has been on my heart ever since I became a server and it's these things I want everyone to understand.

1. We don’t make an hourly wage

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Well, we do, but it's only $2.15 an hour. After taxes are taken out, it comes to be roughly $0.75 an hour. Being a server is not like other jobs, we do not rely on our weekly check to pay the bills or put gas in our cars. If I serve 6 tables in one night and they all leave me $3, looks like I'm leaving with only $18. My paycheck from my 40 hour pay period of 2 weeks is only going to turn out to be about $30, that is if I don't get money taken out for employee meals. Servers work late nights so there is no proper time for dinner so getting an employee meal is sometimes the only option.

2. 15% is not a good tip

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Before I started serving I thought that 15% was what I left when my server did a very good job. Keywords of that sentence is “before I became a server." If your server did an excellent job, AT LEAST leave 20%. We would appreciate more, but anything is better than 15%. If you don't know how to calculate this, pull out your calculator, type in the amount of your bill, and multiply by 0.20 and there you go!

3. The attitude you have towards me reflects my attitude towards you

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I'm not saying if you're super sassy with me, then I'm going to be super sassy back. I'm saying that if you seem like you don't want to be here and don't talk a lot, then I'm not going to try to spark a conversation with you. I love when my customers acknowledge me and try to spark a conversation themselves. For every customer, I want to make your experience at this restaurant the best that I can make it, but if you don't talk back, I'll try to come to your table the least that I can.

4. Acknowledge me when I come to your table

It is one of the most embarrassing things when I come to the table and you keep talking amongst yourselves when I have asked you a question. I won't be there for long so while I'm standing there, please listen to me and answer my question and then I will be on my way. Most people act like it's not my job to come up and ask what you want to eat.

5. I don’t work in the kitchen, so if your food isn’t cooked right, don’t get an attitude with me

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Your fried grouper is over cooked? I'm very sorry and I will repeatedly tell you how sorry I am for that, but I want you to understand something. I am not in the kitchen cooking the food myself. The kitchen will mess up sometimes, just like I do, and that's okay. But please, don't get an attitude with me about it because it was not something I could have prevented. I promise we will work it out.

6. I am trained to have a greeting line, so please don’t interrupt me before I’m done greeting you

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“Hey how are you guys do..."

“I'll have a water with lemon."

I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to me. It is my job to ask you what you want to drink so I will get to it, but before I do that, let me get through my greeting line like I am trained to do.

7. Servers have a lot that goes through their minds

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“Ranch for table 6.

Refill drinks at table 7 and 8. Wow that guy drinks a lot.

Don't forget that the guy at table 7 wants his ribeye trimmed a certain way and cooked in-between medium and medium rare.

Where is the water pitcher??

Call out salads for table 8. No onions and peppers on one.

Grab the check from table 5.

Theres no more sweet tea in the urn. We need more!

UGH RANCH FOR TABLE 6!"

I saw something similar to this on Facebook one time, and I laughed at how accurate it was. If I forget that ranch for table 6 at the end of the night, it will hit me and I will feel and about it.

8. Lastly, I am human and I will make some mistakes

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I will stumble upon my words when I say filet mignon because for some reason it is a hard word for me to say. My mind will go blank sometimes when you ask me what kind of wine we have. I will mess up every now and then. Sometimes it will be your fault because just like me, you mess up too and that's perfectly OK.


Becoming a server was one of the most eye opening experiences for me and if I could, I would make it a law for everyone to be a server at some point in their life, but that would be really silly. I hope this opens the eyes of some people. I know being a server isn't the most difficult job in the whole world, but I can promise you it is not the easiest either.

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