Wrestling with Anxiety

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Rocking back and forth, crying hysterically–I can’t breathe correctly, I’m shaking and I’m scratching my skin raw. I’m failing College Algebra and I have a D in my European history course. I can’t face that I’m alone; I have no one to talk or open up to. I think it’s a weakness to admit I need help. All of this building up, my anxiety attack hits me like a brick to the face. I’m contemplating dropping out or suicide. I don’t want to deal with the pressures of school or life.

Struggling with being in a new environment and a class load I was unprepared for, my life was constantly on the hilly parts of the roller coaster. I want to believe I can do this and accomplish what others thought I couldn’t. My family thought I would drop out or fail within the first year. I wanted to show them wrong.

Being low on cash didn’t feel like an option to me, so I tried working full time. I picked up shifts whenever I could and started skipping class to do so. The time came for my first test in my college algebra class and I bombed. The test for my European history class was next and I bombed that as well.

When I had a paper to write, with stress building on me from family, school and work, I snapped and started hyperventilating. After having an anxiety attack for 2 hours, I passed out. Anxiety is a constant battle because I over-think everything: The little voice in my head is constantly telling me lies about the world, such as everyone hating or judging me. Meanwhile this eerie feeling washes over me, sometimes making me physically sick or plunging me into a depression. All the negative thoughts swirling in your head translates to your mood. My depression is not caused by my anxiety, but it is intensified by it.

Anxiety will always be a part of me. Medications and different therapies don’t really work. I’m always fluctuating with my anxiety, and with that comes depression. Family can cause this, but what exacerbates my anxiety and depression is school. All the pressure to find my future builds on top of me until I crack, then I break.

Anxiety feels like the nervousness before a presentation or speech, but perceptually. Constantly thinking that others are talking about me or judging me and simply thinking, “they aren’t laughing at me!” means nothing. Sometimes my anxiety hinders me from doing things, like going out or doing activities when I know a lot of people are going to be there. Other methods like meditation or working out only help for so long.

I’m starting to face the reality that I’ll have this disorder for the rest of my life, but I’m not the only one. I know others who have anxiety and depression that have survived. Struggling with this will never end, but the times can be easier. Saying “I am not alone” is what pushes me to become better.

What I really want to happen is to take control of these emotions and of what affects me. I know this pipe dream is only a wish upon a star, but if these feelings of nervousness and suffering could go away, my life would be better. If my mind could turn off and I could relax for even a single minute, then my life would be better. The constant hand ticks, self-doubt, uncomfortable feelings and the notion of not belonging are horrible things to experience every single day. Adding overwhelming sadness and bouts of depression to the mix makes me want to stay in bed. On days like that, I have to turn to friends to help me out of my attacks.

Living with these disorders is difficult. Coming to FSU and working harder than I have before brought them out even more. I can’t blame college, but I want to. I want to be able to leave college and know these disorders will go away and I will live a happy, easy-going life. I know that isn’t possible, so in the meantime I have to work on myself and trust that I can get better. Whenever I feel as if my anxiety or depression has worsened or is getting worse, I just repeat my own advice: Always breathe and remember you aren’t alone.

Theresa is a junior at Florida State University and is a Editing, Writing, and Media major. She has an extensive film collection and a slight obsession with The Wahlberg family.

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