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.

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

Popular Right Now

6 Ways To Take The Stress Out Of College, Kinda

When you start to feel overwhelmed by the workload of college, you should practice some of these techniques in order to help make college less overwhelming.

Stress is one word that every college student or worker is familiar with. According to helpguide.org, the formal definition of stress is your body’s response to any type of demand or threat, which is also known as the fight or flight response. Stress in small amounts is fine, but too much stress can cause negative effects on your health, such as heart diseases, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. And as finals are growing closer, students in college have more reasons to feel stressed. College can be very stressful and can cause students to feel very overwhelmed or depressed, especially in their first year. However, there are ways you can handle stress. Here are the six ways that you can deal with stress from college.

1. Exercise.

One thing that has always helped me with stress is taking the time to exercise. Exercise can relieve anxiety and can help you to focus better in class. It’s also very beneficial for helping you stay fit.

It can be very hard to set aside time for exercising, especially if you are taking a lot of hard courses, but try to set aside 15 minutes to exercise three times a week. You could even opt for taking the stairs instead of the elevator to class or taking a longer walk to class. Whatever the case, exercising can really help relieve a lot of stress that can be caused by the pressure from courses.

2. Study and plan assignments.

One of the most common things that almost every college student will do is cram for a test or turn an assignment in at the last minute. Almost every student has at least once tried to turn in an online assignment at exactly 11:59 p.m. on the due date.

However, doing assignments or studying at the last minute can cause unnecessary stress. Therefore, it’s better to either do the assignment right away or break the assignment into chunks each day. Most students will use a planner to help them decide how to break the assignment or studying into chunks.

You can also plan how much time you will spend on each part of the assignment. For example, you may decide that you will spend Monday studying for 15 minutes or an hour the next day.

The one exception to this is if you are the type of person who can't do an assignment in chunks. I’ve heard of several people who work better on assignments by finishing the assignment all in one day. If this is the case, you should at least do it as soon as possible to get the assignment out of the way. This will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by your workload.

3. Avoid caffeine.

This is something in which I personally have a hard time doing since I run on coffee. Caffeine, however, can cause more stress and anxiety since it can cause your heart to race. I notice often that when I drink coffee before an exam, it worsens my test anxiety. Therefore, it's best to avoid coffee before a test or if your dealing with a lot of stress.

4. Get plenty of sleep.

This is the one thing that a lot of students in college don't follow. Especially since a lot of students pull all-nighters where they stay up all night studying for their exams.

Not getting enough sleep can cause major problems with focusing in class and with memory. You can also end up over studying for an exam if you spend too much time studying with no breaks. Pulling an all-nighter won’t help you get the grade that you are hoping to get on your exam. Therefore, it’s best advised to stop studying an hour before bedtime, preferably at 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m.

It’s also best that you make sure that you are getting nine to ten hours of sleep. Students that get only four or five hours of sleep are more likely to feel stress. Therefore, if you really want to relieve your stress, you should try getting enough sleep every day.

5. Listen to music.

Music is a great way to take your mind off of an assignment or test. Classical music is especially soothing. Listening to music can also you complete assignments. When I am trying to do my homework, I will often listen to classical music since it is not only soothing, but it also helps keep my mind focused. Unless you are the type of person who can’t listen to music when working, then I suggest listening to music to help relieve stress.

6. Try taking one course of interest.

When I was taking Calculus, I knew beforehand that the class would be very stressful since I had never had any experience with taking a Calculus course in high school. Therefore, since one of my interests was acting, I took a theater course right after my Calculus course in order to relieve any stress that I had from Calculus. I'm now thankful that I did this since when I was under a lot of stress from Calculus, going to my theater class helped relieve a lot of that stress since it was something that I was interested in and it kept my mind off of my Calculus course.

If you are taking a really hard course and can fit an extra class into your schedule, you should try taking at least one course that you find interesting or that features something that you enjoy, such as history, theater, or math. Whatever it is, if you know that it will help take your mind off of a difficult course, you should at least try it.

* * *

So, when you start to feel overwhelmed by the workload of college, you should practice some of these techniques in order to help make college less overwhelming. I know more than anyone how difficult college can be and how stress can take a toll on your life. However, if you follow the tips from above, you can avoid the harmful effects that stress can have on your health and start to enjoy college.

Cover Image Credit: Thought Catalog // Unsplash

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Finals Are Worse For Your Health Than The Flu

Recently, I have just been struggling.

From time to time we all have moments where things just don’t feel right.

Whether it be described as waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or, just not really feeling like yourself. The crux of it is you either just woke up, or never went to sleep, and even though every other day of the year you turn the coffee maker off before you the leave the house. This time you did not. Of course the coffee maker exploded, making a mess all over your kitchen.

Oh, and now your phone’s blowing up because all your roommates are mortified by this mess. There is a life lesson being taught in your guys’ group chat about turning the coffee machine off. These days happen. At this point, you know being twenty years old and all. These days are not news to me. They’re almost just a part of me.

Needless to say, the ‘I am a mess’ sort of bad day is something I am almost comfortable with. But recently, I have been having a different kind of off day. Just to clarify, by recently, I mean it happens once a quarter, every quarter. And by ‘different kind of off-day,' I really just mean an entirely off week.

I am a student, abiding by the quarter system, trying to get into graduate school.

And the quarterly off-week I have been getting has been during finals week. Granted, this is no surprise. With my luck I am surprised the haze does not hit me during midterms too. Yet and strangely enough, I have noticed this off-ness is particular to finals week.

I start to cue into my off-week with my body realizing that finals week is coming. Which usually is before I even do. From being awake — to having the strangest cravings at 2 a.m. Forgetting what it feels like to be rested and feeling mountains of stress in my shoulders is an accurate way to think about it. There are no active thoughts on my mind. Just a strong sense of urgency and an extremely tense body. Accommodated with sometimes, nothing yet to do.

It’s almost just subconscious stress.

The dead giveaway that I have reached the full swing of my off-week is a strong dissatisfaction for essentially everything I try to do.

At the end of a day, that probably consisted of 13 hours of running around and studying. It feels like I have done nothing. If I am not done, it feels like I have barely tried. This is probably the hallmark of what I am calling my ‘off-week’. I spend hours (and I really mean HOURS) writing the same paper. Hell, I sometimes spend hours writing the same paragraph.

Despite all the other things I have to do, I cannot seem to move on to doing something else. Because I still feel like the paper, or paragraph, is not perfect.

I have gotten a lot better at removing myself from these situations. They are toxic. But I am not great at it. It is hard when you reach a point of stress where you are so irrational. You are letting your own idea of your worth get caught up in a paragraph.

These are off weeks because I know that I am not perfect.

Something has got to be off if my mind’s under the impression that I can reach the unattainable, which is perfection.

I can’t.

I know I can’t.

And I also know, that I get a whole lot closer to producing I take to be flawless work, when I am not at the same time of writing, holding myself to impossible standards.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Facebook Comments