As someone who enjoys being social and connected to others; there is this weird unspoken side of myself that does not. I am here to tell you that you are NOT your anxiety, your anxiety is simply something you live with.
"Visualize anxiety as something that may be identified, name it, conquer it." These are coping mechanisms and tools to utilize. For many these practices work. But personally naming my anxiety "Fred" will not make Fred go away. It takes much more time and healing than that. I believe it is a little naive to simply call out your anxiety by your name instead of trying to understand the source.
According to my family and friends I have always been an anxious individual. I never identified with this characteristic until I came to college. Sure the work load and external factors of personal life end up putting lots of us in a blinded anxious state, however, for me personally what triggers my anxiety is the feeling of discomfort.
Anxiety is my bodies way of telling me that I am uncomfortable.Whether it be with a task, environment, a person, and or school work. The triggers are different for everyone, however, mine were not amplified until I was taken out of my comfort zone; home.
So if you are anything like me, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Your body tells you everything that you need to know about yourself and your emotions. I have recently been enlightened by the truth that our physical ailments are often connected to our emotions.
When I am anxious, my throat gets tight. I feel as if I cannot breathe and like a large weight is rested upon my neck. This may also be known as, "not speaking your truth". Our throats tighten when we are choking back words and things we so desperately wish we could say. So our emotions overcome our bodies, therefore allowing for the feeling of anxiety to creep in.
Have you ever been out? Whether it be with friends, family, at a party, etc. I enjoy being connected to people, seeing new faces, and learning new names. However, college has made me recognize that the partying lifestyle is something that does not speak to my truth.
A couple weeks ago I visiting my best friend, one of the safest most comforting people I have in my life. But once we were out, in the social setting of college life; my throat was instantly tight and my mind was racing.
I was standing in the middle of a frat basement and I couldn't help but say to myself over and over, "Why am I here? I don't like this why am I here?". Then I remembered why I was there. My friends and family always tell me I need to let loose. So this was me, attempting to live the normal college life and taking it all in and "enjoying being young".
But this was an entire act. That moment where I was not being true to what fuels me or makes me who I am. Why do I put myself in those situations, if all it does is cause be discomfort. What if my idea of "enjoying being young" is just different from others?
After visiting, I sat down with myself on a ferry ride back home and thought about all of my anxious triggers. They're all connected to this fear of the external pressures of others opinions/thoughts. Sitting and wrestling with my own thoughts, I was contemplating what genuinely makes me happy. And what I necessarily want out of this life.
I am 19 years old, I am at the point in my life where I should not answer to anyone but my own intuition. If I am uncomfortable, I have to have the courage to speak that out instead of letting my emotions get the best of me. I need to be vocal and speak my truth.
I want to create a life for myself that is so full. Full of kindness and love and people around me that lift me higher. I want to be someone who spreads light and positivity. I want to write, spend my time breathing in the fresh air, drinking good coffee, and giving back to those who have given me so much.
If we listen to our bodies and speak our truth, I believe that is the strongest tool to conquering our anxieties that life brings. Not naming something that cannot be seen but is only felt. If you're someone who may struggle with anxiety or know someone who does, I ask you to sit down with yourself and try to get to the root of whats bothering you. Or you know… you can always name your anxiety Fred.