Overthinking And Overanalyzing: What It's Like To Live With Anxiety

Overthinking And Overanalyzing: What It's Like To Live With Anxiety

Anxiety is a way of life, not an attention-seeking mechanism.
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Having anxiety is not something I chose.

It began in high school as a result of pressure I put on myself to perform at the highest possible level in the classroom, on the track, and outside of school so that I could be accepted to my top choice university.

Having been at Emory University for almost two full semesters, I can tell you that anxiety does not go away; it just finds crevices through which to slip. Anxiety is not something people use to seek attention. It is very real.

In fact, there is much evidence that the basis of anxiety is biological and lies within the brain, where issues with the amygdala and neural pathways can arise.

Anxiety is not an attitude, behavior, or personality. Rather, it can almost be described as a way of life. We see things differently. We overthink, overanalyze, and pick apart every situation. Could there be an ulterior motive behind some small action performed by a friend? Why did my other friend only reply with an OK? We can’t rest until we have the answer.

Basically, we cannot turn off our brains. It can affect our sleep, mood, and performance. On top of this, anxious people typically deal with some form of anxiety attacks, whether that attack brings tears, sweating, shaking, screaming, panting, or all of the above.

Mine typically involve pacing, heavy breathing, and a temporary on-edge persona. The worst situation plagues those whose attacks are invisible -- with zero physical signs of distress.

If you are reading this, I want you to know that those of us who have anxiety are more than this. I am a lover of social justice, Thai food, and making new friends. I am outgoing and love making people smile. Instead of stigmatizing people who suffer from anxiety or depression, we need to reorganize our beliefs.

Even worse, people glamorize anxiety. Why? It’s basically hell. Instead of shaming or glamorizing what you cannot understand, try understanding it. And if you can’t understand it, then accept it and learn from it because, although anxiety beats at the back of my mind, anxiety has not kept me from accomplishing things I am proud of.

There’s something else you should know about your friends with anxiety --we care in ways that other people do not. We care so much. Yes, sometimes we need validation. But your smile is enough. Your laughter is more than enough. As someone with anxiety, I can attest to the fact that I love deeply and care greatly about those close to me. My anxiety does not prevent me from being that one friend who gives advice to everyone. It does not prevent me from loving my friends, my teammates, my sorority, or my boss.

There is one final thing I need to say: looks are deceiving.

Those who are smiling could be suffering. Have you heard the story of Madison Holleran? If not, I suggest you look it up. Even if it seems that someone is beautiful, talented, brilliant, or all of the above, they could be suffering. Images splashed across Facebook and Instagram do not reflect reality; they reflect whatever variation of reality people want you to see.

If you have marched through anxiety the way I had to, with people telling you it isn’t real or that you made it up, I am with you. I know how it feels. It is real, and it is terrifying.

But if you can get through this, you’re already stronger than 80 percent of the world’s population.

Cover Image Credit: caffeinatedconfidence.wordpress.com

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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5 Tips To Help You Feel Better If You're Sick

A few helpful tips if there's a bug going around.

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Not to brag, but I don't get sick very often, maybe once a year. When I do find myself a little under the weather, there's a few things I like to do for a faster recovery. I have no idea if any of these are 100% accurate, but I'd like to think they do. None of these will immediately make you feel better, but they'll help quicken the process.

Drink lots of water.

This one is a no-brainer, but it can be hard to do sometimes. I know when I'm sick, I definitely don't think about it. Water can help flush toxins out of your body, makes you hydrated, and can help you feel more awake and energized! If you're not a huge water drinker like I am, Tea also helps.

Stay home.

If you're sick, it's honestly better if you just take a day off and focus on feeling better. If you're worried about going to school or work, it's better that you don't spread anything. Let me just say, I'm fairly certain the last time I caught something was because someone behind me in a class was coughing through the entire lecture.

Rest.

This one goes with the last point, but sleeping will help your immune system fight off any infections. It's good to take some time off and get any extra sleep you can.

Clean everything.

I like to wash all of my clothes and bed sheet, because they're what I wear and touch the most, especially my pillow cases. This will help get rid of some germs and stop them from spreading. It's also good to disinfect anything you touch often, like doorknobs and table surfaces.

Take medicine.

This one also sounds like a no brainer, but seriously if you expect to feel better soon you should be taking some sort of medicine. At the very least, it'll help with your symptoms, so you're not couching or sneezing every couple minutes.

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