I never thought I would be writing a response article to myself, but I cannot stand to look like a hypocrite.
Sometimes it's easier to say that you have control of your disorders in order to give yourself a false sense of hope and make everything appear "okay" to the public. Even though it very well may not be.
This was the case for myself last semester. I wrote an article where I spoke about how I don't let my anxiety or OCD define me and even my eating disorder that I didn't mention. Meanwhile, they were all eating me from the inside out even as I typed those words.
My first semester of college was what I like to call less than ideal. However, if you look on my Instagram page you might try to argue that it looked like I was having the time of my life. I was going out every weekend, joined a sorority, had lost weight, all the things that you would think make a new college freshman happy.
That's exactly what I wanted everyone to think. The things not featured on my social media were the panic attacks I was having every night, the entrapping anxiety I felt anytime I walked through the hallway, the false reality that I experienced that every person close to me was against me, and the days I would go without eating because I was so stressed and lost within my anxiety that I only wanted to sleep.
Sleep was my get away. When I was asleep my heart wouldn't race, my chest wouldn't feel like its imploding, I wouldn't be worried about how much I could mess up a friendship or relationship or have time to over-analyze anything I saw on social media.
My emotional, mental, physical, and social health were on the brink and no one knew but me. I was living a lie because I was too prideful to admit that there was something going on inside of me that I could not fix on my own. My family could not help me. My friends could not help me. I could not help me.
But none of this you could see from my Snapchat, Twitter, or my Instagram. And that was how I liked it. I was essentially living a double life and using my outward appearance as a security blanket to hide my internal feelings.
I could not beat the game that was going on in my head and I felt trapped within myself. Simple high school drama that I used to be able to brush off my shoulder became the reason I wouldn't get out of bed. I gave other people the power to destroy me because I wasn't strong enough to realize I had all I needed in my life. I let other miserable people push me further down my spiral. Any amount of negativity I was surrounded by, I absorbed. I let other people avoiding to deal with their own issues further the intensity of my own.
It wasn't until I was home for a month and away from any ounce of negativity that I had felt relief for once. I was surrounded by people who loved me and supported me with their whole heart and wanted me to get better. That was when I swallowed my pride and sought help. Just by talking to someone other than my family or friends showed me I wasn't crazy. I wasn't able to control what was going on in my head because it is not easy to control anxiety. You learn to deal with it and how to not let it affect your everyday life. Slowly but surely I let go of pointless anger. I stopped caring what one person may not like about me and spent more time learning to re-love myself. I started yoga which also taught me how to breathe through my panic attacks and start each day with a reason to smile and be grateful for life.
It wasn't easy. It wasn't fast. It wasn't without a lot of tears, but it was worth it.
To the girl who feels entrapped within her anxiety and has no idea what's going on in her head, where to turn, what to do, and who just wants to break down, I know how you feel. There is only one way out of this slump and it is through. You will make it through. Take it day by day and find the positives in each day. Value those who value you. And never forget that family is forever. Anxiety feels like a silent monster that creeps up on, grabs a hold of your thoughts and all of you and you cannot shake him. But you can and you will because you are strong and you are resilient.
"Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries." -Astrid Alauda