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Health and Wellness


This is my personal college essay on living with social anxiety

The Amazing Atheist

Social anxiety. Fifteen million people are affected by it and it is treatable by medication and therapy. Furthermore it is categorized as a mental illness. When you think of a mental illness the first thing you think of is hearing voices and clawing your eyeballs out, or the sociopath serial killer who shot up an elementary school but you would never think of a fifteen year old girl who is scared to talk on the phone, go to school, or knock on someone’s door. You wouldn’t think of me.

It is a Tuesday morning before school, the alarm goes off and you just let it...beep. Dad comes in to tell you to turn the alarm off and make sure you are up and getting ready for school. He sees you crying into your pillow and comes over and rubs your back. “I can’t,” you cry as he lets out a deep sigh. Before he can get another word in you are sprinting to the bathroom only to dry heave over the toilet. The thought of getting up and going out in public scares you senseless. High school is a terrifying place to begin with, so many people in such a small space. So many words being said around you- in your anxious mind every conversation is about you. You are wearing the same pair of jeans that you wore yesterday and everyone notices. Your eyeliner is a little uneven and that’s the reason the girls in the corner are laughing; they just have to be laughing at you, you know they are. None of these assumptions are true of course, but that’s the way your mind thinks, that one wrong look or one wrong word will set off a trigger to end your entire social life.

This was an almost everyday occurrence during my freshmen, sophomore, and beginning of junior year. I could not go to school because I let my anxious thoughts rule my life; let my mental illness take me over, which ultimately resulted in more serious consequences. Every high school student is aware of how crucial it is to have strong attendance. The unfortunate reality was that I was out for three sometimes four days a week. While at first my teachers assisted me in catching up on the material, after the first four weeks of me being at school for only two days a week it stopped. Talking to people one on one is my biggest issue, therefore sitting down to email a teacher for help or staying after class was horrifying. What if they get mad that I’m never there? Or ask me if I need help.

Turning “you are NOT good enough” into “you ARE good enough” is something I could have never done on my own. I had help from my doctors, friends, parents and teachers who kept reminding me that being scared will never get me anywhere. With help from these amazing people I was able to put myself in situations where I can relax and minimize my panic attacks; such as being able to get on top of my schoolwork and outside responsibilities therefore reducing my stress levels. Without having to worry about making up my school work I was able to get my priorities in order and focus on what is going on in front of me and not dwelling on a mistake I have made in the past.

Growing up is just plain hard, and a difficult road to navigate. Anxiety is part of the journey. More importantly, learning to identify anxiety, deal with the situation at hand and find resolution is where growth occurs. This has been my journey and one that I intend to continue until I achieve a successful finish line.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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