The False Face Of Anxiety

The False Face Of Anxiety

My anxiety is real, but the lies it tells me are not.
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My anxiety usually manifests itself in dizzy spells and nausea, tingling in my fingers, swimming vision, a pulsing headache. It usually comes with an overwhelming sense of insecurity and panic. I feel like I’m falling, but there is no ground to ever end the aching rush of the drop.

My anxiety twists the way I think. It takes my thoughts and overshadows them with doubts. It inserts ideas and feelings that aren’t mine. Anxiety lies. It tells me things like you’re not smart enough, you don’t deserve this, you’re an inconvenience, you’re going to fail no matter how hard you try. It teaches me to believe them, too. It takes those planted thoughts and alters my perception of reality, so I think other people have those thoughts about me too.

My anxiety has many triggers. Sometimes it’s an overcrowded room or sudden, loud noises in a confined space, like yelling or even laughter. Sometimes it’s looking at a list and counting all the things I have to do and how little time I have to do them. Sometimes it’s too much caffeine or not enough sleep. Sometimes it’s not anything I can pinpoint, just an inexplicable panic seeping into my muscles, my bones, my brain and my heart.

My anxiety is like a demon sitting on my shoulder, digging its poisonous, needle-sharp claws into the safe places of my heart and mind. It turns my reality into a maze of second guesses and sudden drops. It gives me a false face, a face that hides the panic behind a calm, “I’m fine.” My version of fighting back is ignoring the claws and ever whispering voice of that demon, internalizing it, not letting anyone else see the battle going on in my head. I put up walls and moats and fortresses, villages, cities, kingdoms, just to protect my vulnerability. It doesn’t really work. Anxiety and all it’s physical manifestations cannot be easily ignored. But I’m learning that is okay. It’s okay to panic. It’s okay to let people see that I’m not fine. It’s even better to fight it by facing it, by not retreating, by looking that demon in the face and saying “I see you and I know you, but you can’t hurt me.”

My anxiety is not my definition. As much as it tries to, it does not control me. It’s certainly a battle, but it’s not a war. It’s a vicious, exhausting cycle, but it’s not an unbreakable one. It’s a demon, but I have God. I can fight it. I will fight it. My anxiety fixates on a false, albeit believable, reality. So when I start to panic, I fixate on truth, on things I know and trust. I am loved. I am loved by my friends, and my family, and my God, who is far greater than all my insecurities. That may not feel true in that one moment, but that’s okay because I can see that it’s true through every moment of my life. I focus on each slow breath—in through the mouth, out through the nose, in through the nose, out through the mouth. I make lists and plan and break things down into manageable portions. I minimize the overwhelming. My anxiety is not my definition. My God is my definition. My family, my friends, my love of books and writing and dogs and nature—those are my definitions. My anxiety is real, but the false face it wants me to believe is certainly not.

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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I'm The Person Who Always Says 'Yes' And I'm Tired Of It

I'm sorry for being blunt, but being a people pleaser is a tiring job.

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Being a people pleaser runs in my family. My mom and I talk about this weakness of ours all the time, especially when we are both worn out from saying "yes" too much.

When it comes to academics, I always go above and beyond to ensure I did everything correctly in order to please the professor or teacher. If there's ever an instance where I feel as if I can't meet or complete a task, my anxiety takes over and out comes a handy-dandy panic attack. Typically, this ends with tears rolling down my cheeks, a headache, and someone telling me to worry about myself and to not stress if it's hurting me too much (if they see me panicking, that is).

Me going to check off "handy-dandy panic attack" in my handy-dandy notebook after a long day.

As a high schooler, the game of saying "yes" was easy and somewhat manageable. In college, however, that game has changed, and it has changed drastically. There was something about non-stop work that was added in… not a fan.

I don't know why saying "yes" has always been instilled in me, but I cannot think of a time when I was not constantly saying "yes" to others. The moments you will always catch me saying "yes" are moments when it comes to helping someone. Sometimes I interject myself because I feel guilty if I don't offer the help.

Of course, there are instances when I truly mean the offer I give, but then there are other moments when I highly regret asking. There have been plenty of times where I have gotten myself into too many outings at once and my extroverted-introverted self becomes beyond angry with myself.

If I say "no" to someone, there's this sense of guilt that hangs over my head for at least a week and it doesn't go away.

While I enjoy making others happy in (almost) any way possible, I believe it is time for me to start saying "no." This does not mean I will be saying "no" to every single thing someone asks me to do, but rather, I'll take a second to think about how much time and energy will have to go into the whole situation before diving in headfirst.

My new slogan will be "Just say no… sometimes."

Instead of stressing over every detail of an assignment for class, I'll stress over the major details rather than the microscopic ones. Before I interject myself into a situation, I will take a moment and think about whether my help is even necessary or wanted. This will be no easy task, especially for this anxiety-ridden people pleaser, but I am going to do the best I can. The over-achiever in me needs to sit down, take a chill pill, and over-achieve in the category of saying "no."

For those who also say "yes" way too much: breathe. The world will be okay without our help, even if it feels like it won't.

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