To My Never Ending Anxiety Disorder

To My Never Ending Anxiety Disorder

Why am I like this?
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Dear Never Ending Anxiety,

I want you to stop hurting me and everyone else who has to deal with you.

Your existence in my life emerged in midst of my junior year in high school and I will never forget you. It was a very stressful time for not just me, but others as well because there were only two things in the back of every high school student's mind: SAT exams and college applications. I admit, the stress of having to go through so many steps to determine where I will potentially achieve my higher education was driving me insane. On top of college applications, this was also when I had the most New York State required Regents exams as well which really didn't help either. I was starting to feel hopeless and felt as if I'd never achieve anything and that no schools would ever accept me.

Upon entering my senior year of high school, that's when it was the real deal, the time to actually start applying for colleges. But sadly the pressures to major in specific subjects and to speed up my application process from both my family and guidance counselor didn't help me either. That's when things started to turn really dark.

One of the first things I noticed was how I was becoming distant from my friends, the ones I've been close with since we were kids, because I was so caught up in these new and weird feelings that started happening suddenly. However, I genuinely felt as if none of my friends even cared about me and didn't want to deal with my emotions. It's funny how I bring that up though because in truth, I was the one isolating myself from everyone. I didn't know how to really express myself and I felt bad about everything so I managed to disappear from a lot of people and create the image that I was okay and my usual self during school.

I still remember the exact feelings I would get when I would start to think or talk about the college application process because it still happens to me today. Of course, these feelings emerge due to other reasons, but hey they still exist. My heart starts to beat really fast, my stomach starts hurting a lot, it becomes a little hard to breathe, I pick at my skin and I start pacing the room back and forth with a million thoughts racing through my mind. This then ultimately leads to panic attacks because I'm constantly worrying and don't know how to really control my thoughts.

I wish I could say that, because of the fact that I'm now entering my third year of college majoring in something I actually enjoy while having a job that enables me to help people, that I'm doing okay, but it hasn't gotten much better.

I never even knew I had an anxiety disorder until a very brief counseling session that didn't last long in my first year of college. I still experience the same kind of feelings and sensations whenever something stressful happens to me and unfortunately the panic attacks haven't stopped. In fact, I've come to notice more things happening to me like being completely overwhelmed in a room of people and feeling like I'm not actually there and then eventually hiding elsewhere like the bathroom, for example.

Every time I recollect and look back on why exactly I have this anxiety, it always comes back to this even if it's still hard to explain. It may seem silly to get anxious over such trivial things half the time, but trust me, it really sucks and I wish I wasn't going through any of this. Growing up, the topic of anything related to mental illnesses never came up and it's been hard for me to seek help as I still go through it, but you know what, anxiety?

I want to thank you.

No really, I mean it, thank you for being the annoying tick in the back of my mind that plagues my every thought to this day. You're annoying, hard to follow, and you give me headaches all the time. You've ruined my relationships, made me afraid of approaching people, and have left me feeling alone, upset, and tired. But you know what? I don't know how my life would be without you. I wish I had a normal life from time to time, but I cannot imagine how it would be not worrying about everything and everyone. You've taught me value in learning to prioritize one thing over the other. You've made me realize that sometimes it's okay to focus on myself. You've helped me get through some really hard times and help me meet some incredible people that are still a part of my life regardless of how I feel.

You also gave me a reason to write this piece, to actually express my feelings.

So please be nice to me, anxiety.

Sincerely,

A Very Tired College Student.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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My New Infatuation with Instagram

Who knew double-tapping could be so much fun?

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I refused to make an Instagram for years. My friends begged me. Strangers asked me to follow them. Organizations asked me to like their pages. Even my own parents told me to make an Instagram. Everyone wondered why I did not have an Instagram account. Part of it was that I did enjoy seeing people's incredulous expressions. Secondly, it was a fun way to drive my friends crazy by adamantly refusing to make an account. The other reason was that I was too conscious of how having an Instagram account would affect me.

Therefore, on April Fools, I gave in and made an Instagram account. All my friends immediately followed my account in the first hour of its existence. I followed them back and explored the app to become familiar with it. I wondered who to follow and mulled over what to write as my bio. Are emojis too childish? Would quotes be too cheesy? I was already worried about people's perception of me before I even posted my first photo.

After the initial excitement wore off, I realized I had spent too much time scrolling through my feed (that wasn't refreshing to show me anything new since I didn't follow that many people yet). Like any other app, it was addicting, and I was only getting started. I have read article after article about how Instagram damages self-esteem, accustoms people to seeing idealized versions of everyone else's life, and its effects on mental health. As an avid Snapchat user, I did not expect myself to become too bothered by the images I would see on my feed. I saw hundreds of images and videos daily. If I kept in mind that people take the time to only show the best portions of their life, then I thought I would be fine. However, as all things, that is much easier said than done.

I have only had my account for a little over two weeks, and I have tried my best to not become obsessed with comparing myself and my life to other people's. What I didn't anticipate was the feeling of excitement as my notifications overflowed with comments and likes from my friends (and some random people I don't know). It felt invigorating to see the number of likes my first post received and the praise in the comments. Eventually, when it slowed down I was surprised to feel a bit disappointed.

This moment made me remember the real reason why I did not want to make an Instagram in the first place. I did not want to rely on other people's likes and comments to feel good. There is nothing wrong with complimenting other people and recognizing their hard work or talent. I enjoy praising my friends. Yet, it felt odd to want others to praise me because I took a few nice photos in front of pretty flowers. I love to appreciate aesthetics, but now that I have an Instagram, I must constantly remind myself that when I post, it should be for me first, and not for likes.

As long as I keep that in mind, I'll double-tap to my heart's content. What's not to love about beautiful photos all in one place?

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