When people look at me. They don't see pain. They don't see hurt. They see a bright eyed, outspoken, smiling young woman who's a mother hen to her friends and boyfriend. When people see me, they don't actually see me. They see an A/B, overachiever, extroverted student who wants to be a psychologist, not a stress and anxiety stricken student who cries behind closed doors. Like every other mental illness, many people have preset faces of what those with mental illnesses should look like. Some don't even know that stress and anxiety can be so severe that they are sometimes listed as mental illnesses because of it. Dealing with these terrible symptoms, it's often hard to put into words what people like me go through, but I will try by the end of this article to help you understand what one day holds for someone like me and how we over come it.
In one day, I experience more emotions that lead from tiredness to excessive energy, happiness to extreme lows, and compulsive smiling to uncontrollable tears. Sometimes I think of my past, present, or future and it leads me to feelings of despair. Cold or hot sweats with a horrible stomach ache often overcome me to a point where I feel as if I might pass out. Terrible shaking and a speedy heart beat sometimes causes me even more stress. Knowing that I am stressing or having an anxiety attack causes me more stress then before. It's the thought of knowing there's nothing I can do that scares me. It's the thoughts and depression that consumes me and my time when I am behind closed doors.
Walking around my college campus or any place and sometimes wondering if anyone's looking at me or laughing at me causes the sweats that stress. Letting down my friends, family, or professors causes me stress and anxiety. Knowing that I could have done better, but didn't try my all also causes anxiety for me. Not making people happy tears me up inside. There are many experiences that I have missed out on due to crippling shock waves that stress and anxiety can send throughout a person's body.
Feeling as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders is a feeling that I get everyday when I awake from my sleep. Choosing to stay in bed instead of getting up and being productive has led to being called lazy and selfish many times. Hearing those words doesn't break my chains from the crippling feelings of anxiety or stress, it sends me deeper into the gut wrenching feeling of no hope. There are many in my life who do not understand or even know to the extent how bad stress and anxiety controls me. My own parents don't know about the depressive moments that causes me to become introverted. They don't know the memories or thoughts that consume me everyday. All they know is that I am happy and making good grades.
With all this being said, I refuse to have anyone look down upon me. I am a human being and I am where I am today because I pushed myself to be the best I could be while under pressure. I am not a person to feel sorry for. I am a person who triumphs everyday, by waking up and standing up every morning no matter how bad the weight of the world sinks on my shoulders. By getting dressed, doing my hair, and putting on my make-up I triumph, no matter how stressed I am that I start to shake and think awful thoughts. With going to class, making good grades, and getting done what needs to be done I triumph, no matter how depressed or how many tears I shed in my dorm room that day.
Stress and anxiety is different within everyone. Some are not phased by the call of despair, but for people like me who are, everyday is not only a struggle, but proof that we are surviving a mental illness that is a way of life for us. Everyday that we are engaged in our life proves just how much strength we hold within ourselves. The next time you hear that someone has stress or anxiety, think back to this article and think of their journey. They have come a long way, too long to be turned down or shunned. Encourage everyone you meet, for you do not know the hardships that they are overturning from the outside in.