The Truth About Anxiety

I wish that I could tell you that handling anxiety can one day lead to being okay forever. But that’s not the case. Life can still suck. Words sometimes won’t come out. And the sadness can stay for months at a time. There are no simple tips and tricks to fix it. I wish that there was. 

TRIGGER WARNING: In this post there is an in-depth description of the not-so-bright side of anxiety. If this can upset you in any way, please don’t continue. 

Hi. So this post will be a bit different from my other blogs. It’s not something that was really even meant to be broadcasted on the internet. Actually, it is something that was never even supposed to leave the inner workings of my mind. This post is actually from a letter that I was going to send to a close friend that I wrote during a time in my life where nothing was going right. I never planned on sharing it with anyone else, not even the person that the letter was originally for. But now that I’ve had enough time to reflect on it and see how much I’ve changed, I decided to let this small corner of the world get a glimpse into the mentality behind generalized anxiety. 

So, here it is, my written panic attack :

I’m sorry that I’m not me.

That sounds weird. But, it’s true. We both know its true. I’m not the girl that you met. I’m not the same person that was brimming with joy and love. I don’t spend most of my time doing things to make others happy. I don’t even do things to make me happy anymore.

For the past few months, I’ve been empty. Things that used to make me smile don’t anymore. Conversations with old friends don’t bring me joy anymore. Even listening to my favorite song or taking a bubble bath or even doing those stupid breathing exercises that all of the self-help blogs claim to work wonders won’t fix this. I feel like in the place where I used to have all of this bright and swirling happiness there’s just nothing. And it’s stupid. I’m stupid.

I’m stupid.

I used to be happy. I had so much hope for where everything in my life was heading and I had so much love. Love for people, love for nature, love for myself. I had spent so long building myself up from the dark place where I used to be, and now suddenly it’s gone.

The love, the happiness, the feeling of being able to go into social situations and not wanting to cry. Its gone. And I didn’t even see it go. I think that’s the most terrifying thing.  That you can spend so long fixing yourself and working on your mentality and then you wake up and everything that made you feel at peace is suddenly something that petrifies you. How is that even possible? How does everything in your mind change and you don’t even notice until it’s too late?

I truly felt like everything was okay. I thought I had my anxiety managed. And I wanted to have it managed, not just for me, but for you. For any person that is going through anxiety and wants to see a glimmer of hope that one day things will be alright. I wanted to show you that when you get older and when you’re able to surround yourself with people that support you and want you to be okay–you will be okay.

But that’s not the case. Things don’t get magically better. Even when you become older and are given the tools to handle your anxiety, it doesn’t help. Nothing helps.

I’m sorry that I filled your head with false hope. I’m sorry that I acted like I had anxiety all figured out like it was this manageable thing. I’m sorry that I’m not me anymore. I know that I disappeared and shut in on myself. I wasn’t replying to anyone, I wasn’t trying to be in social situations– it’s just half of the people in my life were making more anxious, and the other half were people that would want me to talk about it. And I can’t.

My mom told me that when I was a baby, whenever I would get upset I would get so angry that I would hold my breath until I would make myself pass out. And now, I do the same thing with my words. Whenever something is hurting me mentally, if someone tries to talk to me about it, I’ll hold it in until I explode. And that’s what I’m doing now. I’m bottling everything inside even though I know I shouldn’t just because I don’t want everyone to see how far I have fallen. I feel like I’m supposed to have it all figured out– but I don’t. I don’t think I ever will have it all figured out.

And for that, I can’t be more sorry. I wish that I could tell you that handling anxiety can one day lead to being okay forever. But that’s not the case. Life can still suck. Words sometimes won’t come out. And the sadness can stay for months at a time. There are no simple tips and tricks to fix it. I wish that there was.

But in reality, anxiety is like getting your gas pedal stuck while driving down the highway. You can do small remedies to try and fix it momentarily the car is still flying at an uncontrollable speed and everything else around you kind of blurs while you sink into the feeling of panic that nothing can be done to save you from the feeling.

I wish someone would save me from this feeling.

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And that’s that. That’s the letter that I wrote to one of my closest friends and never ended up sending. I chose not to send it for several reasons. The biggest reason being that I knew she is struggling with anxiety too, and I didn’t want her to see me fall. I felt like me giving her what was going on in my mind and showing her how life wasn’t as good as I made it out to be would be damaging for her. The other reason was because it felt too raw. The night when I wrote that letter, I was in my second week at a college hundreds of miles away. I hadn’t made new friends, I was still mourning the death of a close family member, and all of the change that was happening at that point in time was too much to handle. 

But with time, things got better. I got adjusted to college, found a group of friends to feel more at home even though I was nowhere close to my actual home. I also chose to distance myself from things that gave me more anxiety and I have forced myself to ask for help.

I just want to make it clear that I didn’t post this to make others who have anxiety to feel discouraged. Yes, anxiety is a lifelong journey that has many ups and downs. Yes, you will have times where you feel like the ups don’t exist anymore. You might find yourself spiraling in the way I was when I wrote that letter. And that’s fine. But the important thing is that you keep in your mind that there always is hope for a brighter tomorrow. Just in the way that you may wake up and suddenly feel down, you can also do that and feel okay. The tips for helping your anxiety might not always work, and some days you might want to lock yourself away from everyone else. But just remember, you’re not alone. You’re not the only person that has felt that way. And if you ever need to talk to someone about the mess that can consume your mind due to anxiety– you can always confide about it on the internet.

Thank you so much for reading through this whirlwind of a post. Leave a comment below if you have ever went through something similar to this, or if it has given you more of an insight of what anxiety actually is.

Be sure to follow to stay up to date with my misadventures in life, college, and anxiety.

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Eternally Single

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes pushing a baby carriage. This is supposed to be the general outline of an adult life. 

But what happens if you can’t even find love?

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes pushing a baby carriage. This is supposed to be the general outline of an adult life.

But what happens if you can’t even find love?

No, I’m serious. What if you genuinely seem to be incapable of loving another person in a romantic way? What if you have spent the entirety of your life being single and honestly don’t see that changing anytime soon? What are you supposed to do, invest in cat toys?

And, as a quick disclaimer, I want you to be aware of the fact that this is in no way me making a half-assed ploy to lure someone into loving me. Because I truly don’t know if I am made for love. This is no way a self-depreciating statement, either. I just honestly find myself to be too independent and too unwilling to let myself fall in love when I have other important things to do like build up my resume, maintain my GPA, and prepare for a future where I can be happy and successful. I’m not writing this to have comments saying “don’t worry, love will come your way soon!” or “Don’t be so hard on yourself! Love will come at the time when you least expect it!”

I haven’t expected love in the last nineteen years of my life, and it hasn’t made it’s advances to me. And honestly, I’m happy with not being loved.

There’s something in my brain that just makes me feel this adverse reaction to love. When someone shows genuine affection or attraction to me, I feel repulsed.

Seriously.

Love repulses me. And that’s like the opposite of what I should feel. So. There’s that.

And, no, I’m not saying that there is not a chance that there might be someone to come into my life and change my entire outlook. There is definitely a chance of that happening, and as I have learned from the great philosopher, Justin Bieber, you should “never say never.” But right now I seriously cannot see myself falling in love.

I feel like I’m at the point of my life where there are so many things up in the air. I mean, I am in the first breaths of being an adult, and I quite honestly don’t think I am a balanced enough of a person to be able to prioritize myself as well as a partner. In this certain era of my life, I have some serious questions to answer. I have to figure out what I want to do as a career, where I want to live, and learn how to manage adult things like taxes and health insurance. And don’t even get me started on how much money it takes to provide myself the bare essentials like food and water and wifi. At this point, I am a minimally functioning adult with a lot of learning left to do. I can hardly take care of myself and keep myself happy. How can I provide for a partner too on top of that?

And I know that having someone to love might release some of my stress, but I just genuinely can’t see myself loving someone. Every time I get emotionally close to someone, I feel consumed with this need to push them away. Also, in this day and age, it is increasingly hard to be a virgin in a relationship. Especially if you don’t plan on losing your virginity anytime soon. But that’s a whole other blog post.

I think at this point in time, I am just confused. Love is confusing. Everyone around me seems to be on the prowl for their future husband. Or for their next lay. But either way neither of those things interest me. And I know everyone says that I will find love when I’m ready, but what if I am never ready?

What if love just isn’t for me? What happens then? Am I destined to live a life that is akin to every Tina Fey movie ever where everyone around me thrives and finds love and I funnel my entire life into my job because it is my only sense of purpose? Seriously, what happens?

Society acts like a woman’s only purpose is to fall in love and have children. But what about the women that are happier being single? Do I have no purpose anymore?

I wish I could find the answers to my questions. But it’s not like you can just go online and say “Hey Google, I am a coldhearted idiot who seems to be incapable of loving. Fix me!”

So, that’s why I’m writing this. Is there anyone else who is eternally single too? Did someone think that they were destined to be single forever but then their soulmate came in and changed everything? Should I try to force myself into dating even though I hate it?

Seriously, what am I supposed to do?

Woes of a Child Prodigy

They told me I was smart, they told me that I was destined for greatness. All because I bubbled in correct answers on a standardized test. I understand that she said those things to motivate me, to push me onto the correct path. But all she really did was put an obscene amount of stress on a child’s shoulders. My teachers, family, and classmates looked at me like I was ‘advanced,’ and I believed it. I took every word that she said to heart and tried to be the prodigy that she painted me out to be.

But what she forgot to forewarn me of is that every human inevitably has to fail.

When I was six years old, I was pulled out of my math class and was told that I was ‘special.’

They talked about my subpar test scores, and for the first time in my life I had the mentality that I was supposed to be perfect drilled in my head. My teacher spoke to me in words that were too large for my young self to fully understand, but I walked out of her small office with an entirely new outlook on life.

They told me I was smart, they told me that I was destined for greatness. All because I bubbled in correct answers on a standardized test. I understand that she said those things to motivate me, to push me onto the correct path. But all she really did was put an obscene amount of stress on a child’s shoulders. My teachers, family, and classmates looked at me like I was ‘advanced,’ and I believed it. I took every word that she said to heart and tried to be the prodigy that she painted me out to be.

But what she forgot to forewarn me of is that every human inevitably has to fail.

Everybody screws up, that is just part of life. But when you are told from a very young age that you are special and above average, failure simply does not seem like an option for you. Any grade that is not a hundred makes you feel like you should be doing more. Any question that you might have should be left unsaid because it is expected of you to understand everything at a faster rate than everyone else. This mentality of expecting for yourself to be better than you actually are makes you spiral quickly into failure.

And when you fail, it feels like you are doing more than just failing yourself. You feel like you have let down your parents, your teachers, and your peers. It’s a harsh fall from superiority to realizing that nothing about you makes you any more special than anybody else. And while it does help you gain perspective about life that every person has something that makes them special in some way, it can still hurt you greatly.

The transition from knowing that you are something special to realizing that you are nothing has caused for an increased spike in teenage depression in the past few years. This flawed system of dividing kids at a young age due to their academic performance has created an environment that builds stress for children on both sides of the spectrum.

Why was there never a lesson where the teacher explained that every person has the capability to be extraordinary, and that academics is not the most important aspect of one’s personality? When will we not feel confined to the labels we were given at a young age?

Being a child prodigy was not easy, especially now that I am an average student at best. But being on the opposite side of the spectrum was not easy for those students either. I get aggravated with myself for not living up to everyone else’s expectations, but I know on the other side that the ones who were labelled as below-average are proud of themselves for not confining themselves to the expectations they had years ago.

I believe that this means that, overall, we should not define ourselves to others expectations. Part of growing up is realizing that you’re going to mess up, but also that sometimes you will succeed. How you performed on a standardized test in first grade does not define the person that you are now, and it shouldn’t.

The only thing that should define who you are is yourself.

Welcome to the Real World

Do you have zero idea about what to do with your life? Do you feel like you are letting everyone that you care about down?

Welcome to the real world.

For essentially the first two decades of our lives, we are controlled.

Every thought we have, every meal we eat, every choice we make, hell, every time that we use the bathroom was closely monitored by the adults in our lives. We are told to be independent and strive for greatness, but in the same breath we are reminded that if we break any of the thousands of norms that society has established for us, we fail at life. Everyone from our parents to our peers to our teachers are molding us into this codependent human being that feels trepidation before making any type of decision alone. And if we try to break free and make decisions for ourselves that aren’t traditional, we are immediately berated and forced back into the confines of society.

And we don’t complain, because the confines are the only thing that we know.

Until we reach the magic age of eighteen and everything suddenly transforms into a menacing world of self-sufficiency and major life-changing decisions. It is like as soon as you finish your high school degree, everyone thinks that you should automatically have life completely figured out. You are expected to know which college you want to go to, what major you will have, what career you will do for the rest of your life, where you’re going to live, what person you’re going to marry, how many kids you’ll want, if you will live in the suburbs or in the country, and how to file taxes when just a few months ago your school would not even trust you to go to the bathroom by yourself. How does society not see a flaw in this?

We are forced into being codependent, mindless beings for most of our lives and then the next day we are expected to make some of the biggest decisions that we will ever make. And if you express that you are confused or scared, you get berated because “You’re an adult now. You should just know.

But how can we know?

It’s not like our high school systems devote that much time to helping students actually preparing for the real world. We weren’t given courses like “Intro to Tax Forms for Dummies” or “How to Not Drown in Student Debt.” Instead, we spent years of our lives memorizing information to regurgitate back onto the standardized tests that (SPOILER ALERT) actually demonstrate very little of the actual knowledge that we hold and will never be applicable to life outside of the classroom.

And I’m not saying that we should attack teachers for how horribly underprepared we are for life. The teachers want to teach us valuable information and wish that they could break away from the rigid goals of the standardized tests. The problem is not the teachers. It’s the people who think that distinguished test scores are more important than fostering young minds to find passions and gain knowledge that will actually make them grow as a person. It’s the people who get angry at students when they try to express individuality and then later on get upset when the same student tells them that they can’t decide what they’re passionate about.

Students are being dehumanized into walking test scores, and not only is it damaging to our minds. But it sets us so far behind when the real world shoves it’s unrelenting presence in our faces. Students that excelled in school find themselves struggling when success is no longer a game of having a stellar memory. The students who fell behind are entering the world discouraged because they’ve spent their whole life hearing that they are simply just not good enough.

When you are already broken down mentally, it is hard to make massive decisions for yourself. And it is even worse to confess to others that you don’t know what you will ever be able to do with your life because you don’t want to fail at being an adult before you have even got started.

But, there’s a bright side to this. If you’re a young adult finding yourself in a similar position to the one that I’m describing, know that you’re not alone. Seriously.

Nobody has a clue about what to do with their lives.

The girl from your high school who has always been so sure about being an Engineer is probably having a mental breakdown and deciding to be an artist instead. The boy who you always just knew would become a lawyer is probably talking on the phone with his mother right now telling her that he wants to go into journalism instead. And your best friend that is currently a biology major? Be sure to motivate her when she starts crying and tells you that she definitely cannot complete the Gen Eds, let alone actually get a degree to be a doctor. We are all going to change our minds at least a million times about the direction that our lives will go. And when we think we have it figured out, it’ll probably change again because life is funny like that.

I know that this sucks right now. That the construction of the school system and society itself seriously needs to be fixed and that it can be seriously discouraging to feel like you can’t answer any of the thousands of questions being hurled your way. But just know that you are not alone in feeling about the world’s biggest idiot and that everyone is going to mess up. Welcome to the real world.

Let’s mess everything up together.