At The End With Anxiety

At The End With Anxiety

Getting my worries off my chest and hoping to inspire someone.

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kfsmab
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A year ago, if someone asked me if I had a grip on my anxiety, I would've confidently said a whole-heartedly "yes." Back then college was fast approaching and I was looking forward to the future; my future. Everyone always talks about a college is the best years of their lives (next to high school) and I was ready to be interacting with a new set of people. But fast forward a whole year later and my brain is trying to drag me back to that anxiety cesspool. But the strange thing about my recent relapses with my anxiety is that it's trying to pull me away from something I thought I'd never achieved… happiness.

I am open about my anxiety, mainly because I never run into anyone who I know will follow up or help me go through it. Not that that is a bad thing, this is my problem that I need to manage on my own. My first semester of college was a low point for me socially. All my expectations about having that one great friend and hanging with tons of different people went down the toilet. While freshman year of college has been manageable school work wise, my social life has been something I've been trying to fix. Or rather, startup.

I am very self-conscious when it comes to friendships and relationships. Since arriving at college I've basically had to educate myself on how friends act and what certain things mean. Sure, I knew and sat with people in high school, but these weren't people I could go and hang out with on the weekends. At the end of last semester, I had a small group of friends. Little did I know that it was only the beginning. The second semester has rolled around and now there are a lot more people knowing my name. I can't walk down the streets of Athens anymore without someone recognizing me out of the blue.

I am so used to having my earbuds in, blasting Imagine Dragons, and going from point A to point B. But now I have people waving at me, saying hi as I struggle to see their face and recognize them (These new glasses do help). It's an unusual feeling for me. While I am mainly an introvert, I still like to be acknowledged and invited to stuff so it's nice to just be recognized even though I have a slight panic attack in my head of "OMG who is this person? Are they waving at me or at the person behind me like in a bad Romantic Comedy?" But you see how I describe it as "panic". That's what my anxiety feels like. A lot of people say they have anxiety, but I know for a fact that not all of them have it as bad as mine.

As the end of the second semester wraps up, I am getting more and more anxious. Not with finals or anything because I never panic with the school. School is my "job" and I've been trained by the best teachers not to crack under pressure (humble brag). But I am really more scared to leave some friends behind. Not all of them because every friendship is different. But there is that one friend who I have grown very close with these last couple months. But my anxiety likes to play tricks on me and basically belittle me. Even though I know that they appreciate me for who I am. And how I go out of my way just to be a good person, my anxiety still lets my past traumas haunt me. I get this from my mom who manages quite well but I know is still dealing with her own battles with it.

Growing up as an only child, on top of not having a lot of friends, I was alone with my thoughts a lot. So now as I am older, I worry about losing people I care about. The people I've put so much time in with. To many others, summer vacation is common with college. But as someone who managed to lose a really close friend before and several family members in the span of two months, it's a worrying thing.

Without getting into specifics I basically beat myself up. That voice in the back of my head is literally my worst enemy. And sure, there are medicines and illegal substances that could "help" but I know for a fact I am stronger than my anxiety. It's just something I have to learn to live with and get better at. I basically laid out the more extensive version of this whole rant to my mod mate. She is like the big sister I never had so it was just a great feeling to get this off my chest and have someone to just talk to. It's easy for me to see the universe working against me every day. And I try to do as much good as I can to course correct it. But finding new methods to combat my demons is very important. That's one of the main reasons why I am writing this. Just to get all my worries off my chest. And hopefully, show someone reading this that others go through it too. As cliché as that sounds, everyone has their hardships. But it's what you make of it is what defines you.

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9 Metaphors That Describe Anxiety To Non-Anxious People

Anxiety is difficult to explain, and even more difficult to understand.
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Everyone experiences anxiety in one form or another. However, there is a large difference between having an anxiety disorder and feeling anxious every now and then. For instance, it is pretty common and typical for someone to be anxious before they take an exam, but becoming so anxious that they don't eat and decide to not show up to the exam at all could be a sign that that person has a disorder. Anxiety disorders themselves range from being mild to severe, and it can also depend on what triggers a person experiences and how often. In short, anxiety is a broad term that ultimately depends on the individual.

It can be difficult to describe anxiety to someone who has never truly experienced it like the people who have disorders do. Social media is full of attempted explanations, but there are still those people who tell us to "get over it," "don't think about it so much," and "there's no reason to be anxious." One of the biggest misunderstandings about having anxiety is that most of the time we know that there isn't any real reason to be anxious, and that our minds are overreacting. The thing is, though, it just feels impossible for us to turn it off and think logically in that moment. There's not a whole lot we can do.

Since that can still be confusing, I've compiled a list of metaphors and analogies that might make a little more sense to those who have never truly experienced anxiety before.

1. Anxiety is when you leave the house and feel like you have forgotten something but can't remember what it is, and worrying about it all the time.

2. Anxiety is the mini heart attack you receive when you're walking down the stairs and miss a step, but your heart never calms down and the butterflies remain in the pit of your stomach.

3. Anxiety is when you are watching a scary movie and you know something is about to pop out and scare you, but it never does, so you just keep waiting for it to happen.

4. Anxiety is taking the phrase "step on a crack, you'll break your mom's back" way too literally, and having to focus on where you step each time you go for a walk.

5. Anxiety is not knowing whether or not someone is being rude or just sarcastic, so you constantly wonder how they feel about you.

6. Anxiety is the feeling that someone is following or watching you, even though no one is ever there.

7. Anxiety is diving deep underwater, then swimming back up to the surface, but the surface is farther away that it seemed so you suddenly feel as if you are about to drown.

8. Anxiety is feeling like every day tasks, such as taking a shower, might result in your harm, even though reality tries to convince you otherwise.

9. Anxiety is the fear of fear.

Again, some of these might not apply to everyone that has anxiety, because anxiety is so different for everyone. I know that there are probably a million different ways to describe anxiety based on what each individual person is anxious about, so this list is just a start. If you are reading this and have anxiety, I hope you find comfort in the fact that someone can relate to what you feel. If you are reading this and don't consider yourself an anxious person, I hope that this gives you a better understanding of what people experience when they say they have an anxiety disorder. Either way, remember that whatever it is you're anxious about, the storm will always pass. Stay strong.

Cover Image Credit: Bustle

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A Day In The Life Of A Socially Anxious Person

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adults in the United States. It is one of the most common mental illness and yet a lot of people don't know what social anxiety disorder (SAD) exactly is and have misconceptions about it. Social anxiety is often misunderstood as shyness. However, SAD goes beyond shyness. For someone with SAD, daily social interactions can be stressful to handle because of fear of negative evaluation and embarrassment.

To eliminate misunderstandings and spread awareness about SAD, here's a picture diary of what a day in the life of a socially anxious person looks like.

8:30 a.m.

"I better hurry and switch off my alarm before my roommate wakes up. I'm afraid she might hate me for waking her up this early."

12:00 p.m.

"I know the answer to this question but I'm too scared to answer. What if it is wrong and I embarrass myself in front of everyone?"

3:00 p.m.

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

5:00 p.m.

"I better keep practicing my order in my head otherwise I might stumble upon my words and make a fool of myself."

7:00 p.m.

"I am just going to delay answering this call as I'm afraid to answer the phone. I don't know who is on the other side and am not exactly sure what to say."

10:00 p.m.

"I'd rather not sleep, as if I try to, I'll be reevaluating all the embarrassing moments of my day."

Along with these thoughts, a person suffering from SAD might also experience physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, flushing, palpitations, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. If your day looks anything like the picture diary above and you have been experiencing physical symptoms, do not be afraid to seek help.

According to a survey conducted by ADAA, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help. If you are someone who is suffering from SAD, always remember that there's hope. Always seek help as social anxiety disorder is treatable through medication and therapy.

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