I'm Taking My Anxiety By The Throat

I'm Taking My Anxiety By The Throat

I control my own life, not my sweaty palms.

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Anxiety. For those who don't deal with anxiety on a daily basis, anxiety is similar to the feeling of missing a step on the stairs or almost falling backward when you're tipping your chair, except that all the time. When you answer a question in class, even if it's correct. When you have to order at a fast food place and mess it up. It never goes away. It's an ice bath on your spine and hellfire on your skin. Basically, it sucks. Many people may think that they have anxiety; the nerves, the sweating, the pounding heart, but they really are just anxious. That happens to everyone, however, anxiety threatens to disrupt everyday life by having these feelings when doing the simplest of tasks or when you cannot do regular tasks because it causes so much fear.

So I decided that I wasn't going to let it mess with me anymore.

It's the beginning of my senior year in high school with things are going regularly with athletics and academics, but it was time for something new. I decided to take charge and make senior year my bitch. The fall play was coming up, close friends of mine who were in the drama department have been telling me to audition since we were freshman, but I could never build up the courage to audition. Everyone looking at me? Hell no. Until this year.

"F*ck it," I told myself and put my name down on the audition list. About a month later, I was in and I couldn't get out of it even if I wanted to. But I didn't want to this time because I was determined to follow through and overcome this unbridled anxiety that threatened to ruin my life. One step at a time. So I acted in the fall play, quite well if I may say so. Four different shows that had four different outcomes. Four different times where an auditorium full of people witnessed any mistakes that I made, every time I missed a line, messed up a cue, or mispronounced a word, but I took it head on. By the time the last show was upon us, the anxiety was gone and if we messed up, specifically if I messed up, I kept going without a hitch. I made my mistakes fun, even if it meant that when I tripped on stage, I just dragged myself dramatically to my spot, earning laughs from the audience. Taking that risk has given me lifelong friends, lifelong memories, and a lifelong partner. Freshman me would have probably fainted on the spot of being in the school play let alone hearing what else was going to happen the rest of the year.

Fast forward to second semester; I have an application in my hands. Not a college application, a graduation speaker application. Speaking at graduation was going to be my final act of taking down my anxiety, but first I had to get in. So I write my speech and present it in front of a group of teachers, thankfully, the ones with whom I have good relationships with. It goes well and I wait for results. It comes at softball practice where I excitedly tell my best friend and go on with my day. Now it's time for the big show.

Writing the speech was the easy part. Getting up on the stage, even in front of empty chairs, induced the anxiety. The ice bath and hellfire washed over me, my knees went weak, arms were heavy, and I'm thankful that I didn't throw up mom's spaghetti, but there was no turning back. I got up on that stage, in front of a packed gymnasium and gave a damn good speech that put an end to anxiety ruling my life.

Of course, I still have anxiety, it's always going to be a part of me. But I am no longer that freshman who is scared to raise their hand in class. I don't particularly like to, but it does not send me into a panic attack anymore. I can talk to strangers without getting sweaty palms and a shiver down my back. I put my foot on the throat of anxiety and won't take it off until I'm dead, I will not let it control me.

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9 Metaphors That Describe Anxiety To Non-Anxious People

Anxiety is difficult to explain, and even more difficult to understand.
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Everyone experiences anxiety in one form or another. However, there is a large difference between having an anxiety disorder and feeling anxious every now and then. For instance, it is pretty common and typical for someone to be anxious before they take an exam, but becoming so anxious that they don't eat and decide to not show up to the exam at all could be a sign that that person has a disorder. Anxiety disorders themselves range from being mild to severe, and it can also depend on what triggers a person experiences and how often. In short, anxiety is a broad term that ultimately depends on the individual.

It can be difficult to describe anxiety to someone who has never truly experienced it like the people who have disorders do. Social media is full of attempted explanations, but there are still those people who tell us to "get over it," "don't think about it so much," and "there's no reason to be anxious." One of the biggest misunderstandings about having anxiety is that most of the time we know that there isn't any real reason to be anxious, and that our minds are overreacting. The thing is, though, it just feels impossible for us to turn it off and think logically in that moment. There's not a whole lot we can do.

Since that can still be confusing, I've compiled a list of metaphors and analogies that might make a little more sense to those who have never truly experienced anxiety before.

1. Anxiety is when you leave the house and feel like you have forgotten something but can't remember what it is, and worrying about it all the time.

2. Anxiety is the mini heart attack you receive when you're walking down the stairs and miss a step, but your heart never calms down and the butterflies remain in the pit of your stomach.

3. Anxiety is when you are watching a scary movie and you know something is about to pop out and scare you, but it never does, so you just keep waiting for it to happen.

4. Anxiety is taking the phrase "step on a crack, you'll break your mom's back" way too literally, and having to focus on where you step each time you go for a walk.

5. Anxiety is not knowing whether or not someone is being rude or just sarcastic, so you constantly wonder how they feel about you.

6. Anxiety is the feeling that someone is following or watching you, even though no one is ever there.

7. Anxiety is diving deep underwater, then swimming back up to the surface, but the surface is farther away that it seemed so you suddenly feel as if you are about to drown.

8. Anxiety is feeling like every day tasks, such as taking a shower, might result in your harm, even though reality tries to convince you otherwise.

9. Anxiety is the fear of fear.

Again, some of these might not apply to everyone that has anxiety, because anxiety is so different for everyone. I know that there are probably a million different ways to describe anxiety based on what each individual person is anxious about, so this list is just a start. If you are reading this and have anxiety, I hope you find comfort in the fact that someone can relate to what you feel. If you are reading this and don't consider yourself an anxious person, I hope that this gives you a better understanding of what people experience when they say they have an anxiety disorder. Either way, remember that whatever it is you're anxious about, the storm will always pass. Stay strong.

Cover Image Credit: Bustle

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I'm The Person Who Always Says 'Yes' And I'm Tired Of It

I'm sorry for being blunt, but being a people pleaser is a tiring job.

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Being a people pleaser runs in my family. My mom and I talk about this weakness of ours all the time, especially when we are both worn out from saying "yes" too much.

When it comes to academics, I always go above and beyond to ensure I did everything correctly in order to please the professor or teacher. If there's ever an instance where I feel as if I can't meet or complete a task, my anxiety takes over and out comes a handy-dandy panic attack. Typically, this ends with tears rolling down my cheeks, a headache, and someone telling me to worry about myself and to not stress if it's hurting me too much (if they see me panicking, that is).

Me going to check off "handy-dandy panic attack" in my handy-dandy notebook after a long day.

As a high schooler, the game of saying "yes" was easy and somewhat manageable. In college, however, that game has changed, and it has changed drastically. There was something about non-stop work that was added in… not a fan.

I don't know why saying "yes" has always been instilled in me, but I cannot think of a time when I was not constantly saying "yes" to others. The moments you will always catch me saying "yes" are moments when it comes to helping someone. Sometimes I interject myself because I feel guilty if I don't offer the help.

Of course, there are instances when I truly mean the offer I give, but then there are other moments when I highly regret asking. There have been plenty of times where I have gotten myself into too many outings at once and my extroverted-introverted self becomes beyond angry with myself.

If I say "no" to someone, there's this sense of guilt that hangs over my head for at least a week and it doesn't go away.

While I enjoy making others happy in (almost) any way possible, I believe it is time for me to start saying "no." This does not mean I will be saying "no" to every single thing someone asks me to do, but rather, I'll take a second to think about how much time and energy will have to go into the whole situation before diving in headfirst.

My new slogan will be "Just say no… sometimes."

Instead of stressing over every detail of an assignment for class, I'll stress over the major details rather than the microscopic ones. Before I interject myself into a situation, I will take a moment and think about whether my help is even necessary or wanted. This will be no easy task, especially for this anxiety-ridden people pleaser, but I am going to do the best I can. The over-achiever in me needs to sit down, take a chill pill, and over-achieve in the category of saying "no."

For those who also say "yes" way too much: breathe. The world will be okay without our help, even if it feels like it won't.

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