What It Is Like With Anxiety

What It Is Like With Anxiety

An explanation.
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To you,

I am sorry for my quirks. I am sorry that I act certain ways. I am sorry that I cannot do certain things. It is just who I am.

I am quirky because of how stressed I get when things are out of place. I keep everything straight and do everything by even numbers. It is one way that I can keep control in my life. When I color code things and I do not have the right highlighter I freak out. I use the same pen and pencil because that is what I am used to. I cannot stay in a messy place for long, I hate it when specific foods touch.

I act the way I act because I am consistently worrying about how others will react. I try my best to avoid confrontation because I have an extremely irrational fear of conflict. I have major trust issues so when I do not tell people certain things it is because I feel like I will be betrayed. I cannot speak quietly because then I get told to talk louder, then when I am too loud I am told to be quieter. I do not know what people want from me. I feel like I can never be myself because people always want different things.

I cannot do certain things because I have been through them. I hate the smell of alcohol and cigarettes. Soda cans opening causes me to go into a brief panic. I hate the smell of roast beef. I do not like people touching me because I just do not enjoy being touched. I do not love giving front hugs. I hate heights because I have a fear of falling. I don't enjoy being the passenger in a car because of another fear of not being in control.

This is what it is like consistently living with anxiety. You are always worried about what your actions cause for other people. Your fears are around every corner. You are always worrying, worrying, worrying. There is no way that I have spent a day not worrying about one thing or another. Anxiety makes a person seem quirky. But it is all about control. Anxiety is one of the causes for constant stress and also a coping mechanism for when life gets too rough for me. When I straighten or clean it makes me feel like I have control over what is going on in my life. When a person has anxiety, their world is constantly chaotic.

When dealing with a person who has anxiety please understand if they start having a meltdown over something small, this means that they are at peak levels and having an anxiety attack. Just sit there and be with them. When a person looks stressed and running around. Be there for them and just tell them that they got this. Ask them if they need help and do it the best that you can. I am telling you that they will appreciate it so much.

People who have anxiety just are not worry-warts, these are people who have experienced more in the world that you never saw in life. Anxiety can be seen in their face, body language and they way they act. Do not treat them any different than us, just be an amazing person for them and they will love you.

This is what it is like to live with anxiety. I know it because I know exactly what it feels to live with anxiety.

Cover Image Credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Living With Anxiety In A World That Romanticizes Mental Illness

Being stuck inside your own head is actually a disease and not something to romanticize.

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The older I get, the more anxiety takes a huge toll on my life. I worry about time, I worry about money, I worry about becoming sick; there is not a moment where I am not worried about something. Lately, it seems as though everyone in college has "anxiety." But, in reality, this is not the case.

Yes, you can be anxious about something. Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but becoming anxious over a test or a first date is not the same thing as being chronically anxious. Twitter nowadays is filled with people saying something is "giving them anxiety." I can't speak for everyone, but I am tired of hearing people complain about anxiety when the actual illness is debilitating and horrifying to live with.

I have a hard time explaining what anxiety actually feels like to people that don't experience it. It's hard to describe. Just imagine going anywhere and having terrible thoughts consuming your mind to the point where you start shaking, your heart rate is through the roof, and you just want to go cry.

There are certain things that I get more anxious about than others. For example, I am an extreme hypochondriac, so I get overly anxious about sicknesses, heart problems, and everything under the sun related to health. It becomes a very hard obstacle to overcome during a time in my life where stress is already built up from school-related things, work, and relationships.

I think people have a misunderstanding about what anxiety actually is. It's not just a mental health issue, it's a physical one, too. Anxiety can start in the mind, but then create symptoms in your respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and every other system you have in your body. It's not something that people should take lightly; it actually affects a person's well-being to the extreme.

I hate speaking on a topic that is so misunderstood, but as I have gotten older, this has gotten much worse. I can't go a single day without feeling uncomfortable and never content with my life, and more people need to learn about what anxiety actually is. It should not be joked about, should not be romanticized, and should not be shamed. I don't wish this mental illness upon anyone, and anyone that is going through this themselves, please seek help. I know from personal experience it is not easy.

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