We’ve all seen how life has its own challenges made for you, challenges meant to make you stronger, wiser, and make you figure out who you want to be.
Though it might not be the biggest one I’ll ever go through, dealing with anxiety is a challenge I certainly haven’t been prepared for.
It all started when I was 14 when I started being labeled as the ‘sensitive’, ‘shy’, or just ‘weird’ one. When at school, just being around so many people would make me panic like I was going to war. I would analyze every word I was about to say, so I could avoid embarrassing myself because otherwise, I would feel so bad about what I’ve said no matter whether it was good or bad. The worst ones were when I couldn’t control my blushing.
Let’s imagine: your math teacher asks one of your classmates if he or she likes apples. That’s it. That is what it would take for me to panic and leave marks on my palms from my nails trying to control my blushing and respond to the question.
At home, I would avoid pretty much every family gathering just because I knew that they would want to know what I had been doing and I would embarrass myself again. The worst part is that my parents also thought of me as a weird kid, always wanting to be alone and too arrogant to spend time with them. I wanted so badly to fix their opinion, but I didn’t have the courage to do ‘fix’ it.
When anxiety took complete control over me
My days started looking the same, only I was getting more and more tired of being so weak, but still couldn’t find the strength I needed.
Let me show you how one of my days while the school would be like:
7:00 am: I would wake up to get ready for school, but not after staying 10 minutes in bed worrying about having to go through another day with the same possible situations. At some point, my worries would start to be about the fact that I was going to be late so I’d finally get ready and go to school.
8:00 am – 2:00 pm: School time. Biology, done. Break next. But how was I going to spend it? What if no one would come to talk to me? What if my classmates would think that I am boring or have no friends? And so again. If I was lucky, I’d go home happy that nothing bad had happened, but if one of my blushing moments would have happened or I would have said something not so smart, my day was going to be ruined by the way I would overthink everything and how disappointed in myself I would be.
2:00 pm – 10:00 pm: My free time, usually fulfilled with homework, overthinking, movies, cooking, or thinking about the future I so badly wanted but seemed almost impossible.
10:00 pm – usually 2 am: This is where I would try to sleep but fail because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that went wrong and about how bad I always failed at being normal.
No one should think that this is how life looks like, neither should settle for it.
Accepting that I needed help and asking for it
Well, it finally happened. The big breakdown. I felt sad so I decided to go for a walk, but I made it only until in front of my house, where I burst into tears. And I cried. Like I’ve never had before. My dad heard me and came to ask me why I was crying, but I couldn’t even find a reason. I just started talking and I had told him everything. He couldn’t help me much, but he listened. He told me we could go see a therapist, we would spend time together and make it through, but most importantly, he listened. After a long time, I felt hope. I wasn’t alone, and even if it was going to be hard, I was so going to make it and see my dream-self come to the real me.
That was when the change started for me. Later I found out that what I was going through had a name and a treatment, but most important, people, that wanted to listen to me and help me.
I’ll end it by saying that you are never alone and please, don’t let yourself suffer. Ask for help when you know you need it. There is always a way out and someone that will support you and know almost exactly what you need. Mental health and self-love are important, don’t make them less than they are.