I Have Anxiety, It Needs To Be Treated, And That Is Healthy

I Have Anxiety, It Needs To Be Treated, And That Is Healthy

It's OK not to be OK.
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Last week, I took my 6 hour drive back home from college for Thanksgiving.

I took a sharp corner and the plant I had been growing for my botany lab tipped over, sending dirt all over my car. When I stopped for gas, I tripped over the hose on the pump and face planted right into my car.

Usually, these little things would irritate and embarrass me to the point that I would cry, be in a nasty mood and throw some things around, but today, I literally got back in my car and laughed at myself.

I went through years of being terribly irritable, anxious and upset all the time before I realized it wasn't right. Worrying constantly was giving me migraines, making my stomach hurt and just making it hard to be normal. I would get angry at the drop of a hat and always felt irritated with every little thing and everyone, making it difficult to have healthy relationships with anybody. I had a constant fear that everyone around me was judging my every move and hated me for no reason.

After debating it for over a year, I decided to go to the behavioral health center on campus to talk to someone. The doctor asked me a million questions and listened to everything that I had been having trouble with. She nodded, smiled and listened like she really cared, which made it much easier to talk about things that were difficult. And then she diagnosed me with anxiety.

At the end, she looked at me and said, "I would like to start you on some medication to help your anxiety. Trust me, it will do you wonders."

I drove numbly to CVS to pick up my prescription. A million thoughts raced through my mind and tears blurred the road in front of me. Was I really so broken that I needed medicine to be normal?

After a long, difficult week of awful side effects, something hit me like a truck. I was walking down the street with Starbucks in my hand and my mind felt... clear. Focused. There weren't all these little thoughts nagging at me.

I started realizing how truly wonderful my life was. School didn't seem like a burden. My assignments were just things I had to do, not things I had to worry about. I stopped snapping at my boyfriend for stupid little things. I sang in my car on the way to school and didn't give a crap who saw.

All of this coming from the girl who used to be afraid to get up to throw away trash during class in fear of being judged? The one who got irritated if someone looked at her the wrong way? Who constantly kept herself awake at night, worrying about what the next day might hold? It felt amazing.

I felt normal for the first time in a long time. When I first was diagnosed with anxiety and started taking medicine, I really didn't want people to know because I didn't think they would understand. A few people that knew even told me not to mention that I was on medication because "not everyone understands" and "you might be judged." But now I have accepted it and if I accept my own struggles, eventually others will too. And if not? That's ok too.

I need something to help me feel better and that is perfectly fine.

Mental illness isn't a dirty word. Neither is medication. Needing medicine to feel okay and happy is just fine. Nobody can be perfect. Some people just need a little more help.

It helps me actually be me, not the irritable, anxious, upset version of myself.

Don't be afraid to admit if you need a little help. Maybe it's therapy, maybe it's medicine, maybe it's simply talking to someone about the things that are bothering you. Life isn't easy.

It's okay NOT to be okay.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Crabb

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

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12 Mantras For When Life Decides To Throw Everything At You At Once

Life can be hard especially when everything seems to be all happening at once.

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Everyone has those couple of days, weeks, or sometimes even months where life just seems to throw everything your way.

It may feel like everything is downward spiraling exponentially and nothing is ever going to be okay again.

It can feel like you're drowning in your issues and won't ever be able to resurface.

Then, finally you think you got ahead of the game and boom... something else happens that throws another wrench into your life.

This can be detrimental to one's mental health and can ultimately decrease productivity.

It can also lead to outbursts, negativity, mood swings, headaches, unhealthy dieting, lack of sleep, etc.

But, as we all know these times are all just a part of life and everything will turn out to be okay eventually.

Although we know it will be okay eventually, eventually may seem like a lifetime so, here are some mantras that help me get through all of the challenges that life decides to throw at me:

1. Remember your character.

During tough times it can be really easy to lose who you are. It can feel as though you are drowning in your thoughts, your feelings, and life itself and because of that, you may turn into someone you would typically loathe and that no one wants to be around. Take some time to go outside where your space is filled with nothing but the pure sounds of nature and really reflect on who you are and how you want to handle the situations you are in.

2. Everything going on will come to an end.

When one thing after another keeps happening it may seem never ending but I promise you, it will end. Keep this in mind during times like this because it will help you get to the end of it faster. Telling yourself that everything will be okay soon will make your attitude towards the situation more positive which will not only make the situation not seem as bad but it will also help you get to the end quicker.

3. You can't move on to the next chapter if you're stuck on the last one.

Allowing yourself to accept and move on from situations is a big part of helping yourself through life's struggles. If you keep harping on everything that keeps happening to you chances are more things are going to happen because you are perceiving your current state of life as being negative. Start to think positively and you will be able to move on to the next chapter.

4. This is only going to make you stronger.

Taking different angles and approaches to your struggles is key in tough situations. If you fail a test you're going to take a different approach to the next test so, that you can hopefully receive a better grade. Try to think of your struggles in the same aspect and you will undoubtedly become stronger and more prepared for the next time life throws everything at you.

5. I can do this.

Sometimes all you have to do is just tell yourself "I got this." Grab your situations by the horns, conquer them, and move on.

6. Deep breathe in, deep breathe out.

Breathing is the most overlooked solution to problems but often the most helpful when done properly. Taking a few minutes here and there out of your day to simply breathe is something that is easily manageable for anyone and can help ease the mind immensely.

7. Your present situation is not your final destination.

Your present situation is just a small portion of your lifetime. You have so much more to experience, learn, and grow from. Remember that.

8. If you won't remember it when you're 40 it doesn't matter.

Chances are that when you are 40 years old you aren't going to remember that time in college when life threw struggles at you left and right. It may seem like the biggest deal in the world when it is happening but there are so many more important things that are going to happen to you.

9. All I can do for right now is my best.

If you're doing your best and that's all you can manage then that should be good enough for you. Don't stress.

10. I am in control.

You are in control of your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and actions but nothing else. You are not in control of what happens to you but you are in control of how you handle it. Take what happens to you and trust yourself to handle it and handle it well.

11. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Just because you are going through some hard times doesn't mean you should lose sight of your dreams. Use the beauty of your own dreams to help you get through your struggles.

12. One step at a time.

When life decides to throw everything at you at once taking one step at a time is the most important thing you can do. Even the smallest step towards solving your problems can make a world of a difference during times like these. Don't pressure yourself. Forward is forward.

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