Anxiety is a serious condition

Anxiety Should Not Be Underestimated

Anxiety itself is a serious condition, and underestimating it can just make it worse.

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Anxiety has been a problem throughout history, and it's been underestimated for just as long. People who haven't experienced it before or those who have but not at as extreme of a level will say "You're overreacting," "It's not a big deal," or sometimes a few people will even say "It's just a phase." Well, as someone who personally suffers from this and has since before I can remember, I can guarantee that these assumptions are far from true.

As a kid, I was a little more outgoing but was still cautious of what I said and did. As I grew older, I noticed what was wrong with my personality and physical appearance more and more. I began becoming less and less confident as time went on. If I said or did something slightly wrong, I would continue to think back at it and hate myself for it years later. Because of this, I had a hard time connecting with people, especially those close to my own age. I was afraid I would be judged. That they wouldn't think I was good enough to be their friend, or that I would be annoying.

For most of the time had anxiety, I didn't even realize what it truly was.

I just thought I was shy, or at least, that's what I was told. In fact, I didn't officially find out I had anxiety until my sophomore year of high school when it peaked. I had joined high school my freshman year without a single friend due to being homeschooled for many years beforehand. Like most people would be, I was terrified. Even after making friends and finding a group to sit with at lunch, every time I would consider to talk to someone first, whether I knew them or not, my heart would begin to race and while a part of me wanted to go talk to that person, another small part of me would be keeping me from doing so. Slowly, that small part of me would grow and continue to do so, making me think of all of my insecurities and all of the possible bad outcomes that could come from me approaching someone.

Nearly every time, that growing, a small part of me would win, and I would stay back, trying to stay unnoticed and as normal as possible.

I usually didn't have friends in most of my classes throughout high school, I was often too afraid to raise my hand to ask for help, and I would feel like I had to cry before standing up in front of my classes and giving a presentation, afraid I would be harshly judged. Unfortunately, along with the other problems, I believe that trying to be more timid/unnoticeable led to me being uninteresting because the people I ate lunch with began to ignore me. At first, I just brushed past it, thinking they it was just me being paranoid, but it continued, even when I would try starting the conversation.

Eventually, I just decided to stop eating lunch with them. I ended up sitting alone in a hallway during lunch for half of a semester, believing that it would be better to feel alone while eating alone that to feel alone while eating with others. Along with that, I had also been struggling in my Geometry class, bringing my self-confidence to an all-time low and making me feel like a complete failure.

Because of all of the problems caused by my anxiety, I began feeling depressed all the time.

My parents noticed and mentioned bringing it up to my doctor at my next checkup. I did and my doctor said I probably had anxiety, which led to me having depression as well. Then she recommended that I see a therapist, which I did. In fact, I saw two different ones.

In some ways, seeing a therapist did help me get some of my feelings off of my chest, but I didn't feel like anything was changing, so I began doing some research on how to overcome my anxiety. I read books on it and sometimes looked up information to see if I could find something on reliable sites, but all of them seemed to say the same thing. "Slowly begin talking to people."

While I understand how that could help, it's not easy to work up to that point. Imagine anxiety is like the monster under the bed many people feared when they were children, except the monster isn't under the bed, it's standing right in front of you, blocking the view of what you want to do/your goals. If you're able to build up your courage enough, you may slowly be able to move past it, and if your lucky and try extremely hard you might even be able to make it past it, but as you run away from it, it chases you, and it will never stop. That is anxiety.

Now that you know my story and how it has affected my life if you didn't believe before that anxiety is a serious issue, hopefully, you will now.

So, if you see someone who seems secluded or shy, whether it be a family member, friend, or even a total stranger, consider what they might be going through, and that they might actually be battling something inside of them that seems nearly impossible to overcome, and maybe try to support them, or even just listen. For those of you who may be reading this and have been suffering from anxiety as well, I hope this helps you realize that you are far from alone, and there are people out there to support you and who are willing to take the time to understand you.

Cover Image Credit:

Sydney Buelt

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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