In the summer of 2015, I was officially diagnosed with anxiety. Anxiety is defined as ‘a common mental illness defined by feelings of uneasiness, worry and fear.’ Although it is common, it doesn’t mean take lightly.
Throughout high school, I was in a constant state of worry and fear of messing up so bad I wouldn’t be able to attend college. This pushed me to go to my dream college, Auburn University. I worked hard and tried to do everything possible to make this happen and it worked. Anxiety didn’t consume me until my freshman year of college leading it to be both the best and worst year.
I say the best because new experiences and new environment which is fine, but with that came new fears and new worries. I never really enjoyed being a freshman because I felt like I was stuck in a hole with no way out. I started to freak out constantly causing my mom or one of my two best friends to get the worse part of it all. I mean I didn’t show I was freaking out, but I was on the phone with them a lot to see if they could cheer me up. They were my light at the end of the tunnel. Someone mentioned I was acting weirder than usual one night, and I started to catch myself doing these I never done before; checking the bathroom, double checking all assignments were turned in, walking back to the dorm halfway to class to make sure the door was locked, etc. This all sounds like typical things your supposed to do anyways right? What happens when these few normal things become a small routine you have to do in order to move on with your day? You feel like your going insane if these tasks aren’t done and done at the proper time. You know you’ve done what you need to, but there’s a nagging feeling in the back of your mind telling you that you didn’t do it. Check it once. Twice. A third time and now you can go about your day until it unexpectedly pops back into your head. Everything starts to seem repetitive and you aren’t doing anything new your just reliving the same day over and over. I got sick of this nagging and started to wonder if it was just OCD, but that didn’t explain the random freak outs or the feeling of being stuck in a hole.
What was wrong with me? Was I always going to go through this? I decided that research was needed and going to the doctor was necessary. I never stopped trying to get out of my comfort zone even when everything I did replayed in my mind. I didn’t become overly popular or anything but I did make new friends, had an awesome roommate who pulled me out of the dorm, and I applied for multiple things to get involved on campus. I admit I didn’t get into a lot of organizations but that didn’t stop me from applying.
Going into the fall semester of 2015, I had a new attitude on how everything was going to work out. I made a ton a friends and honestly these past few months have been the best, but my anxiety is there. I still have attacks. I’m more aware of what’s going on and I feel better about myself and doing things. So what I have a mental illness. I am who I am because of it. I’m more mindful of my actions and words. I might not speak every chance I get, but I speak up when it counts. I work hard everyday to push pass this. Anxiety isn’t something that can be ‘fixed’ it’s a constant in my life and I’m learning to deal with it. I’m going to continue to worry about everything and anything, but now I don’t care as much.