I know, I know. What kind of headline is that? But trust me, it makes total sense. I am truly terrified to make it public, but this is my story.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness diagnosed in the United States. I am one of 40 million people suffering through this. I'm shaking right now as I type this, but I want people to know they are not alone.
Growing up, I was your average shy little kid. I never wanted to talk to adults, I had (and still have) a hard time making friends, and occasionally hid behind my parent's legs hoping I wouldn't have to speak. Sounds normal, doesn't it? It's carried on through my life. I've been in countless situations where I am so scared to talk to someone that I rely on family members to help me out.
I have social anxiety as well. Ordering any type of food, asking sales associates for help, and anything else like that makes my heart race and I can't breathe well. It truly scares me to "adult." I can't go anywhere alone, because I have thoughts in my head about something bad happening, even if it's just going to Allsups. I heavily rely on my twin to get me through those situations.
To anyone, it sounds like a normal teenage problem because everyone has slight anxiety at times, but it's not. Throughout the last year, it's gotten worse and worse. I now also suffer from trichotillomania.
Trichotillimania is an impulse control disorder where the person pulls out eyelashes, eyebrow hair, or the hair on their head when they're depressed or anxious. I pull on my eyelashes in stressful situations and sort of feel relieved when I pull chunks out. I used to always tell people, "Oh, my eyes are just tired from wearing mascara. I'm just rubbing it off." I didn't want people to know I pulled my hair out because I was scared of what others would think of me. It's actually more normal than I thought. There are people in my family that go through the same thing. I am not alone.
I'm slowly finding ways to ease my anxiety and trichotilllomania. I met an awesome counselor at South Plains College who I can talk to whenever I need to. My family supports me, and my mom, aunt, and cousin have continuously reassured me that I'm not weird. I have often thought that having a mania makes me a different from everyone and it really scares me. I am not alone, and I never will be.