No My Anxiety Is Not An Exaggeration

No, My Anxiety Is Not An Exaggeration

Today is the day to talk openly and honestly about my experiences with anxiety as well as the growing anxiety epidemic in the United States.

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I can't tell you exactly how, when, or what led me to hypothesize that I may suffer from anxiety, all I know is I was aware of something being "off" based on my mental and physical reactions to certain external situations. My body would respond to situations (many of which were social and required presenting a topic or talking with new peers) in a "grotesque" way, the thoughts in my mind would race at a mile a minute, my legs began to feel wobbly as my chest tightened and my hands grew damp from sweat. Each symptom I experienced impeded me from actively partaking in basic social interactions bestowed upon me and even led to me hyperactively avoiding such situations. I profoundly remember one such instance in high school, a repeated instance that took me months to "conquer"; it occurred in the same place, at the same time, 5 days a week... the cafeteria at my high school during my sophomore year.

Every school day, during my lunch hour I would sit with my closest friends as we gushed about our days and plans for the weekend.

All of which I was more than capable and rather excited to handle. However, as lunch came to a close, a daunting task appeared and called on me to come face to face with it... throwing my trash away. Now I know you're probably confused or perhaps even stifling a giggle now, because how can getting up to throw trash away possibly cause someone so much stress that their hands get clammy?

The truth is, until recently I didn't have an explicit or reliable reason behind it, all I knew was I had to force one of my friends to go to the trash with me every day because my mind convinced me that I "threw trash away wrong", "walked weird", or "someone will approach me if I'm alone and say something to me to which I won't be able to respond".

My mind was clouded with these thoughts and they seem paralyzed me from completing a simple task without an added crutch. After this instance and many more instances that left my body shaking and filled my eyes with tears, I began thinking that something was seriously wrong with me- by the looks of it no one else around me experienced the same things that I did so it must not be healthy.

Even though I recognized these discrepancies in my mental health, I didn't truly act upon this knowledge until recently during the beginning of my spring semester of freshman year.

While in high school, I routinely pushed my mental health to the side, arguing that my mental health was fine and I was exaggerating the situation. I blame this partly to myself, I always want to come off as someone who is a put-together day in and day out, but also partly to those around me, namely my school system who never once discussed mental health with us (an age group where many began to become diagnosed with various mental illnesses). Upon reaching college, my mental health was pushed to the foreground and I quickly found myself seeking treatment: first, in the comfort of my dorm room in the shape of breathing and grounding exercises, then in the comfort of my friends who allowed me to cry to them about anything and everything, and finally in the form of an actual therapy group that meets once a week.

Up until I joined my therapy group, I never truly believed that what I was feeling would be heard or understood, rather they would be quickly sympathized with before being shoved to the side in order to spare someone else's emotions Up until I joined my therapy group, I led myself to believe that my anxiety was an exaggeration and I was making something out of nothing. Up until I joined my therapy group, I never set aside time to check in with myself mentally in the way I do when I check my physicality. Up until I joined my therapy group, I believed I would have to suffer in silence.

My battle with anxiety has been one that has lasted many years and likely won't stop soon, however, I am not afraid to admit that fact. After struggling for many years and trying my hardest to bottle my emotions as well as any other evidence of anxiety, I have finally come to terms with my diagnosis and have realized there is truth in the statement "it's ok to not be ok". This realization has garnered me more confidence in myself and has led me to be more willing to speak openly and honestly about my mental health as well as those around me who suffer from the same problems.

To those who remain unconvinced, my anxiety is, never was nor will be an exaggeration and I urge you to find that understanding somewhere inside you.

One of my biggest barriers as a result of my anxiety is constantly overthinking every word, every action, etc made by those around me and often misjudging them to be done out of anger, frustration or annoyance. By having more people that understand or strive to understand what I suffer from, I not only create a larger team of supporters, but I also am able to avoid awkward situations that involve being repeatedly asking the other individual what I did wrong before constantly apologizing for what I did and for my mental health always getting in the way of normal situations.

To those who remain unconvinced, I ask that you please keep harsh and judgmental comments to yourself. I have placed enough of those on myself to last me at least three lifetimes and I truly don't need any more from anyone. I ask that if you have comments that want to minimize my sufferings or involve any negative comments about my anxiety, so please keep them to yourself and share them with no one else but your mind. Hearing these hurtful comments not only pushes me back in my fight to reach a point of 100% acceptance of my mental health but also reverts me to the girl that suffered alone through the majority of high school- a place I never want to be again

To those who remain unconvinced, too bad. I know the severity and seriousness of my mental health and I have taken the steps needed to better it. I don't need your approval for it and I will continue to treat myself and bring light to every type of mental illness out there.

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These Are 4 Proven Ways That Vaccines Cause Autism

Stock up on those essential oils.

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Let's just start with the first (and main) point.

1. They don't.

Susan in your anti-vax group is not a scholarly source (despite her hours and hours of Google research).

2. But in case you still believe Susan...

Maybe you'll believe Autism Speaks who says, "Scientists have conducted extensive research over the last two decades to determine whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research is clear: Vaccines do not cause autism."

3. And if Autism Speaks still didn't convince you...

Feel free to take a look at this comprehensive list of studies that all say that there is no relationship between vaccines such as the MMR vaccination and the development of autism.

4. But here's what you should know...

There have been a few studies lately that have shown that autism develops in utero aka before a baby is even born AND before a baby can even receive vaccinations.

Vaccinations have prevented COUNTLESS deaths and illnesses. Vaccination rates are continuing to fall and do you know what that means? Measles will make its way back. Whooping cough will come back. Rubella, mumps, and polio will come back and there will be no way to stop it.

So, now that you know that vaccines do not cause autism, you're welcome to go tell Susan from your anti-vax group that as well as tell her that the Earth isn't flat. But, don't forget to mention it to her that her essential oils and organic foods are not keeping her children safe from the measles or tuberculosis.

Vaccinate your children. And, besides, even IF vaccinations caused autism, wouldn't you rather have a child with a developmental disorder rather than a child who died from the measles?

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13 Songs That Help Me Through My Panic Attacks

It's easy to become paralyzed by panic attacks, but I've found music to be the best tool to help me cope.

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Anyone who struggles with panic attacks knows just how draining and overwhelming they are. It's easy to become paralyzed by them, and once I noticed this, I made a playlist of songs that calm me down. I find that music keeps me grounded, no matter how bad the panic attack may be. Maybe the songs I have listed aren't for you. but I hope that in sharing my main songs that help me, it can spark your brain into finding songs that fit your needs during panic attacks.

In case you don't know some of the songs I have listed, I put a link to each song from YouTube. I hope you enjoy my interesting variety of music!

1. "Weightless" by Marconi Union

Go here to listen.

This song is my go-to song for panic attacks, especially if it's a bad one. For me personally, my heart rate spikes during panic attacks (I'll go from a resting heart rate of around 70bpm to anywhere between 180-200bpm). Evidence suggests this song can slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety and let me tell you... it works 100% for me and I highly recommend it.

2. "Somebody to Love" by Queen

Go here to listen.

I've just always loved this song. There's something about Freddie Mercury's voice that just calms me down and makes me feel like I'm not alone at that moment.

3. "Let it Be" by The Beatles

Go here to listen.

I grew up listening to The Beatles since my mom is from Liverpool, and "Let it Be" is a song that I always associate peace and good memories with. Also, I love the lyric, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary calls to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be." It reminds me that there are things about me and this world that I simply cannot change, but I can find peace by letting it be.

4. "Lost in a Sea of Pillows and Blankets" by .anxious.

Go here to listen.

Go here for the full album.

I find this song, and really the whole album, to be extremely soothing. It literally feels like the comfort of pillows and blankets but in the form of music.

5. "1-800-273-8255" by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Go here to listen.

I love this song for many reasons during a panic attack. One, it reminds me that there are other people that have felt or are feeling what I am currently. Two, it reminds me that I have a purpose on this earth, and I am not a waste of space. Three, I just love the awareness it brings to mental illnesses.

6. "Up and Up" cover by Lennon & Maisy (originally by Coldplay)

Go here to listen to the cover.

Go here to listen to the original.

"We're gonna get it, get it together somehow." This main lyric reminds me that I can conquer this moment, and the only direction from this moment is up. Also, Lennon and Maisy's voices are mesmerizing. The Coldplay original is amazing too, I put both for you to check out!

7. "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes

Go here to listen.

I remember the first time I listened to this; I was actually on the brink of a panic attack. I heard the first lyric, "Help me, it feels like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't. It isn't in my blood." Every lyric in here, which was beautifully written by the way, describes how it feels having a panic attack and having anxiety in general. It reminds me that no matter what, I can make my way out of it. I can win the fight.

8. "Free Spirit" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Khalid's new album "Free Spirit" came out on April 5, 2019, and I am actually obsessed with it. I find myself immediately playing this album when I open my Spotify. When it comes to the song "Free Spirit," the music is enchanting to me; something about it just immediately calms me down. Not to mention that Khalid's voice is absolutely beautiful. Also, I just love the concept of being a free spirit. Not being tied down by mental illnesses or fear, and having this sort of euphoric peace.

9. "Intro" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Once again, absolutely mesmerizing. I honestly feel like I'm taken to another world with this song. Something about the music just makes my brain feel so happy, peaceful, and calm. As for the lyrics, they remind me that I need to find my worth and put me first. Sometimes, I put so much of my emotional energy into other people that I have none left for me. I need to keep some of it for me though, because I know that I have worth, but I can never see it, so I need this emotional energy to be able to put myself first and love myself.

10. "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part, Angele Dubeau, La Pieta

Go here to listen.

Not gonna lie, I'm a sucker for classical music. There's something about this song in particular that I feel like really captures the feelings of depression and detachment that I experience during a panic attack. It's just another reminder that I'm not alone in this.

11. "Raindrop Prelude: Op. 28 No. 15" by Frederic Chopin

Go here to listen.

Sorry, another classical piece... I just really love it. I feel like it shows the feelings before, during, and after a panic attack. Once again, it's a reminder that I'm not alone.

12. "Cello Suite No.1 in G-Major, Prelude" cover by Yo-Yo Ma (originally by Bach)

Go here to listen.

Last one, I swear! There's just something about this piece that makes me feel so calm and at peace... I don't know how to describe it. It's beautiful, and it makes me feel like there's hope of conquering my panic attack.

13. "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle

Go here to listen.

First, Lauren Daigle is simply amazing. This song in particular, though, reminds me that Jesus is always by my side, and he will never give up on me. He sees me in my trials, and he's fighting this fight with me. It gives me a lot of hope that someday I might not have to deal with these struggles.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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