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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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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nczupek
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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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