When I talk about anxiety, I don’t just mean overthinking and worrying about every little thing, I mean anxiety attacks and the constant feeling of being overwhelmed.

When my anxiety attacks started I thought it was just stage fright, and I continued to think that for the next several years. The first time I remember it happening was in church choir. We were singing, and all of a sudden I had to crouch down to the floor. I was so upset that I refused to sing for the second service. Ever since then, my anxiety has had a mind of its own. At first it would only happen when I had to talk in front of people. That’s why I thought it was only stage fright, but it got worse. I started getting attacks just by talking out loud, or being near a large group of people at school. I went to therapy and I even took medication for a little bit, but nothing seemed to work for very long. I remember coming home from school and crying because I was embarrassed

Like all anxiety, it only exists in my head. When I am faced with a high-pressure situation, my mind tells my body to “freak out,” so it does, and I cant seem to turn it off. Here’s how it works. When I get an attack my insides feel like they are squeezing together. It feels like all the adrenaline in my body is rushing to my head and is weighing it down. Soon, my body follows and I am crouching on the ground. I try to get up but I cant because my legs are too weak.

I missed out on a lot of things because I was too scared. Before I knew it, the thing controlling me wasn’t the anxiety itself, but the fear of having an anxiety attack.

When I got to college, I was determined to get my anxiety under control, and I did, for a little while. I didn’t have many attacks at all my first year, and it felt great. My second year I joined a sorority, and the attacks did become more frequent, however, my sorority has provided me with people who really do support me. I never shy away from talking bout my anxiety with them, and I am very thankful that I can be comfortable enough to be myself. I am a junior this year, and I am finding that my anxiety attacks are kind of unpredictable. Sometimes I get anxiety during simple conversations, or even just sitting in class, however, I learned not to get upset and cry after every attack. Instead I have learned to poke some fun at it. I know it seems weird and anxiety is not something to be made fun of, but it makes me feel better when I can talk about it. I still get upset sometimes, but the more people who know about it, the easier it is to deal with.

For as long as I can remember, I have always asked God to take it away. I thought it was a curse, but I’ve realized that it is a part of what makes me, me. I am still trying to get it under control, but I will no longer let it control me. The best advice I can give to someone going through this is to talk to people, because we aren’t in high school anymore. People won’t judge you or laugh at you, people want to help and support you. When you find people who understand, it becomes a whole lot easier to understand it yourself.