While I’ve always been an “anxious” person, I never considered myself someone with anxiety until this past year.
I was trying to make my senior year of high school count, which resulted in me putting a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. That’s when my anxious feelings began to take over my life. Anxiety started wrestling with my workload, manifesting itself within activities I enjoyed and assignments that I needed to complete. Things that I used to do, like editing poetry for a teen literary magazine and writing blog posts, became tainted with my fear of failure. Physics problems became scary and unsolvable, because I was associating them with the fear of failure in my physics class. Picturing myself driving a car seemed nearly impossible, and I realized that my apprehension to get my license was driven by fear. I’d find myself feeling scared for no reason, an almost looming eeriness, and feeling as if something bad was going to happen. On the days that I tried hard to push myself, muscle pains, stomach aches and even migraines caused by my anxiety became debilitating.
I have always been a person who loves to help and listen to people, but even anxiety began to affect my love of listening and being there for friends. What if I’m a hypocrite because I’m trying to help others when I don’t have things figured out myself? What if I’m just not good enough for other people?
My last day of high school was last week, and while the echoes of “you’re not good enough” and “what-if” questions remain as a reminder of my past year, the chance to breathe and reflect has led me to realize that 1) Anxiety has been controlling my life and 2) I am going to make it my goal this summer to leave my anxiety behind.
I started counseling this week and I’m already feeling optimistic. If you are suffering with anxiety, and if counseling or therapy is an option for you, I highly recommend it. Sometimes, the amount of courage and strength that it takes to say to yourself “I am going to talk to someone about this in order to get the help that I deserve” is enough to build up your confidence. I am ready to create my arsenal against anxiety and work on ways to combat my anxious feelings and thoughts for when I go to college in the Fall.
A massage from a loved one, a warm shower, some relaxing music, and a walk with a friend are other ways to reduce anxiety. (My boyfriend has recently been giving me big hugs in an attempt to “squeeze the anxiety” out of me. That works too.)
If there’s one thing that this past week of calm has taught me, it’s that my anxious tendencies might be a part of my life, but I am going to find ways to live my life fully (and how I want to) despite them.