To The Girl Who Is Hiding Her Anxiety Behind Her Smile

To The Girl Who Is Hiding Her Anxiety Behind Her Smile

You are doing yourself more harm than good keeping this to yourself.

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I feel like I have been extremely blessed in how I was raised and the love that was given out to me. I have had amazing friends, good grades, hobbies that have given me inspiration, and overall happiness and thankfulness for the life I am living. But, since the start of college, things slowly shifted into a feeling I had never felt before and funks that I was unable to get myself out of.

Instead of talking about these feelings I was having, I hid it behind a smile and being happier than I truly was. It was easy to cover up my anxiety by giving a lot of love to others and focusing my energy on others happiness instead of my own. I realized this past year that my anxiety had reached a point that was out of my control where I frequently was having panic attacks and always felt so alone and stressed.

I constantly was in my own head about issues I was going through but was too scared to talk to others about it. I worked really hard to be involved and overfill my plate so I didn't have time to think about how unbalanced I always was feeling. It finally hit me this past year when I had several anxiety attacks where I felt as far away from myself than I ever could've imagined. I felt alone and like I was in a hole I wasn't sure how to dig out of. I finally reached out to my mom and had her come up to school to listen to what I had been going through over the past couple of months.

Here is what I learned:

You will never figure anxiety out on your own.

My anxiety got out of control in 2018. I had never felt more singled out and confused about who I was. I was looking for reasons behind why I was feeling the way I was and bottled it up. I kept it to myself because I knew that there were people out there in the world with far greater issues than I.

I didn't want to draw attention to myself for something I thought I could handle, but I couldn't. The path to me finding internal happiness and strength was when I opened up and shared the issues I was having with my mom. I was able to explain and work on creating a plan to figure out how to get back on track and in control of my life. After revealing what I was going through, I had someone on my side. I was no longer alone. I had someone that daily was checking in on me to see how I was feeling and someone to send me inspiration and guide me to doing more things for myself.

You have anxiety, that doesn't mean you are seeking attention.

Like me, you probably are scared to tell others you are feeling different and having panic attacks because you don't want to infringe your problems on someone else, you can see others have issues of their own, and there are far worse things going on in the world than the little anxiety you're dealing with.

Well, you are wrong.

I thought all of those things but dealing with anxiety alone is a huge issue and can create large problems. It is always better to find the support. It is scary to be vulnerable and let others know that you have struggled or are struggling, like this article. But being upfront and honest is the way I have found happiness.

Almost everyone these days goes through something regarding their mental health.

You are not alone. I knew that too, and I was still scared. Your mental health is important to learn about. It is crucial that you know your body and understands what it needs to be happy, have less stress, and live a good life. Everyone is dealing with some sort of inner battle and some just choose to hide it. If you are upfront about what is going on to your loved ones or important people in your life, you could potentially be helping them as well.

Hiding your anxiety behind happiness can do more damage than good.

I truly thought that hiding my anxiety by focusing my love on others would fix my issues. I still deal with that today. I find myself sometimes giving people more love than I give myself and that is something that I realize and am working towards. Hiding your anxiety behind your happiness can do you more harm than good.

Being overly happy and welcoming actually made me feel worse. I always got compliments on how "nice" or "sweet" to others I was and that made me so sad inside that I couldn't feel that way about myself and what I was going through. Hiding your mental wellness can put your farther behind than you want.

My mental health will be something that I am always working on. I know that when I get overly stressed or have arguments with others my anxiety and stress levels will fluctuate. It is an ongoing battle that can easily be handled if we all stay on top of it and read our bodies.


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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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12 Simple Ways To Ease Your Anxiety

These are some super simple ways to handle your stress at home.

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Anxiety and stress are very common problems for many of us in today's society.

Over 70% of adults face some sort of anxiety or stress in their lives.

It can really be overwhelming and can seriously affect our mood for the rest of the day.

Pushing these feelings of anxiety and stress aside and letting them build up does nothing but cause more harm to our minds and bodies.

Sometimes, we just need a quick and easy way to help alleviate some of this stress to help us get through the day and to help us feel better.

Here are 12 ways to do just that:

1. Practice deep breathing

Mental stress and anxiety can cause your body to respond in physical ways. Since it affects your sympathetic nervous system, you might experience elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness. Breathing deeply and slowly can help slow your heart and ease your body back into a calm state. When I panic or feel overwhelmed, I breathe in slowly through my nose, think of one thing that makes me happy, slowly breathe out through my mouth, and repeat until I can feel my mind and body begin to calm.

2. Light a candle or start up your essential oil diffuser

My personal favorite scent to soothe my anxiety is lavender. However, you can also try chamomile, rose, orange, jasmine, sandalwood, or whatever else might help you.

3. Exercise

This is a big one, but can also be a very difficult one. Whenever you're feeling extremely anxious or overwhelmed, it might be hard enough for you to get yourself out of bed, let alone do any serious exercising. My best advice is to be proactive and try to pay attention to when you first start feeling your anxiety creep up on you. Just go ahead and get up and go for a walk, run, or whatever form of exercise you prefer!

4. Read a book

For me, there's nothing like curling up with a good book to help calm my nerves. Whenever I am knowingly going into a situation that will make me anxious, such as traveling, I always make sure to bring a book to read whenever I start to feel overwhelmed. Reading helps me to temporarily escape my anxieties and can be a big help in giving myself some much needed time to calm down.

5. Do yoga and practice meditation

Yoga is such a helpful activity for those with anxiety and stress! It kind of is just a combination of many different anxiety-relieving techniques (exercise, deep breathing, and mindfulness). There are many different apps, books, classes, and websites you can use as a guide and help to do yoga. You can find what positions, locations, and situation are best for you. Doing yoga gives you a great opportunity to think about and reflect on your feelings and worries.

6. Spend time with loved ones (yes, even your furbabies)

Sometimes, all we need is a little love and reassurance in our lives to alleviate some of our anxieties. Spending time with your family, friends, and pets can help us to see and remember the good things we have in our lives. So many times, those of us with anxiety tend to seclude ourselves and that makes it easy to forget the good we have.

7. Drink more water

Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause feelings of anxiety. It can make you feel jittery and can be a cause for elevated heart rate. Drinking more water not only helps you physically (like hydrating your skin and body), but it can also do wonders for your mental health. When your body is unhealthy and unhappy, that can be a big factor in feelings of depression and anxiety.

8. Take a short nap

If you begin to feel overwhelmed or anxious, sometimes it can do some good to just take a short 30-minute nap. Just give yourself some time to rest your mind and body and face the issue with a new focus and fresh thoughts.

9. Journal

Even though writing down your feelings, bad or good, can be helpful, when you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, try focusing on the positive! Write down a few things that made you happy today or a few things that you're grateful for. Don't let yourself be bogged down by the negative.

10. Clean

This might not work for everybody, but I know that sometimes when I'm feeling restless or anxious, cleaning and decluttering can help clear my mind. Basically, it's just good to find something to put your focus on when your anxious thoughts feel like too much. Try to pick a task and focus on that until you're finished. You'll likely find, in the end, that you feel much better than before you started.

11. Listen to happy and soothing music

Listening to music is a BIG help to some people with anxiety. However, you need to be mindful of what you're listening to. Don't put on the breakup playlist you made when you were 13. Find happy or soothing songs and make yourself a playlist of songs with themes of positivity.

12. Don't bottle up your feelings

This might just be the most important advice I can give you when it comes to handling your anxiety. The worst thing that you can do is to suppress your feelings and try to force yourself to forget about them. Hiding or bottling up your feelings might help temporarily, but that will just make you feel worse in the end. Talk to someone or try one of the other methods I mentioned to face your anxiety, but don't pretend like it doesn't exist.

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