I always keep my worries hidden. I mean, how do you explain to someone the conundrum of loving people and needing to be surrounded by people to be happy, but also that my deepest triggers are usually social situations? And those panic attacks? The only thing more terrifying than a panic attack is trying to explain to people what a panic attack feels like. The symptoms — a racing mind, heart, and difficulty breathing — can make you feel like you’re going to faint, lose your mind. And die. Really fun. For a long time I didn’t even know that what I was going through was a panic attack and that I was going to be just fine.
People are puzzled by me – I come across as a perplexing mix of outgoing but introverted, very social but seldomly out. Open but selective on whom I’m open with, I connect with people easily but can only handle a few close friends who I share my whole world with. My character is bold, outgoing, my sharp tongue can get me into trouble, and I rarely care, but I can be mind-numbingly introspective too, sometimes even the smallest things can stress me out and override my nerves.
Dating is hard, how am I supposed to explain that I’m not a jealous, insecure freak, I just think about everything. A lot. Me: Okay just let it go, don’t escalate it, don’t say shit. It won’t end well. Pick your battles. It’s not worth it. Let. It. Go. Anxiety: Sooo I was looking through your Facebook page and – Me: …..Dammit.
My anxiety doesn’t care that I am in a relationship with a boy who makes me laugh, looks at me like I’m the most beautiful girl in the world, and treats me better than any other boy has. Anxiety also doesn’t care about how many things I have achieved, how many compliments I get or how many people I connect with. I will still assume I’m disliked. While this is annoying, it also keeps me pretty grounded and unpretentious at the same time.
Ironically, my anxiety also often keeps me moving forward. I’m always gripped by the feeling that there’s more that I should be, or could be, doing with my life – and while this is stressful, it also keeps me in check. I am very driven, and my flaws in chemistry actually make me highly intuitive – I’m often hyper-conscious of what’s going on around me. People actually come to me when they’re stressed because I’m a great problem-solver – I mean c’mon, the billions of hours I spend thinking has to count for something.
Never let anxiety fool you into thinking you’re not strong enough for something. Never let your anxiety fool you into thinking that you can’t achieve your biggest dreams. Never let anxiety convince you that you’re not loved or that there’s something wrong with you. Never let anxiety fool you into thinking that this is how you will be for the rest of your life, it gets a lot better – a lot of your anxiety in your early 20’s will be circumstantial, your symptoms being perpetuated by all the natural over-thinking and being lost in your 20’s.
You will fall in love with yourself regardless of your most uncomfortable state, you will learn to love your demons that you can’t stand. You will learn to love your edges, all your roughness, and you will one day see all the perfection in all your imperfections.