Contrary to popular belief, life isn’t just black and white.
Wow, it’s that time again… It’s August, it’s that time to start worrying and preparing (mostly worrying) about school again. Yes, sadly, I’m going to talk about exactly what the title of this post says, anxiety , mostly about how I dealt with it; my personal experiences, etc. I hope that my expression of all of this will help in any way, if not, then now you know something else about me.
Well, to be honest, I am reluctant to speak about this, but here goes. So Thanksgiving 2015, unfortunately I had a really devastating anxiety attack (obviously at the time I didn’t know what was happening), where I ended up in the hospital for like a night. I had really really bad chest pain and honestly, I felt like I was going to die. Thanks to my Resident Assistant and some hall mates I survived it, because if it were up to me, I would’ve stayed there and probably died. Okay maybe I wouldn’t have died, but it sure as hell felt like it. Anyway, the diagnosis was “chest wall pain” which is associated with anxiety and depression. Wow at my life.
Everyday anxiety eats me up, some more than others, but everyday I look in the mirror I see it looking back at me saying ” lmao wyd… look at you trying to have a good life, lol chill bro.” It is honestly so hard to live with, but as I said, some days worse than others. Every time I feel like I am progressing, something smacks me off my path and I am pushed back by five steps. Awesome.
I honestly thought that big D word left me in high school, but I guess that’s what happens when you constantly push problems under the rug. Insert *passive aggressive smiley emoji* here. So I was put on antidepressants, which they said, would calm my nerves, and to make it easier for me to sleep. I took them for like three weeks, and then, exams came so I stopped and never did after that. “Come back for a refill when they’re done.”, they said.. To this day, I haven’t gone back for a refill. To be honest, I also stopped taking them because of the stigma, even though not many people knew, I felt like I was being judged and I just felt like a statistic.
After that, everything changed, I won’t say my life went completely downhill, but things started to change drastically; the way I reacted to situations, how I expressed my emotions, and I just got really sensitive and cagey. Exams eventually came, studying was such a hassle, because all I could do 24/7 was worry about failing my first semester of college. I barely had any friends, so not many people in my life knew about my anxiety attacks and how I was emotionally. Honestly, I felt like I would have been a big burden to my friends back home, because I felt like there was just pressure on me not to screw things up, which ultimately made it a lot harder to deal with and I just, I was just really scared to tell them.
My second semester (Spring 2016) was way more difficult, there was more pressure on me, emotionally, and of course with school. Because this semester was shorter, I had to take more difficult classes. In my first semester I took 7 classes, they weren’t all 3 credits, but I just wanted to do so much and so I did, which turned out to be really smart. So in my second semester I had a heavier work load, a lot more group assignments which everyone despises…
Side note, why do people still bring their dirty habits to college?? Hello?? Tuition? Why do you think it is okay to sponge off people? Why do you think it is okay to not do a damn thing in a group assignment and still get the full grade? Is that how you think the real world is? Who told you this? These are all important questions that I desperately need answers to. I know life is a scam, scam or be scammed, word to Joanne The Scammer, but really?? Being an honest and genuine person isn’t a good thing anymore? Y’all better miss me with that.
So honestly there was just a lot of pressure of my frail shoulders. I had to juggle Girl Scouts, my sanity, my job at the newspaper, my health, group projects, my upcoming social life (trust me, watch out for it, it’s gonna be so lit!) and the struggle to get a 4.0. Honestly, I cried myself to sleep for a whole week straight this semester, and I honestly felt like I was going to crash and burn BUT, I am the goat, do you remember that “when they’re praying for your downfall but you’re the goat” meme? Well, that’s me. Shout out to me for surviving my freshman year of college without completely losing my mind and ending up successful! I made the Dean’s List! Woohoo! That’s a sucky way to announce that…
Wow the topic of this post really took a turn… But this is what happens when you’ve been through so much and everything just comes flooding back to you. Back to the topic I started with; anxiety isn’t something that I can say I manage well, no matter how well I manage my time, no matter how much I plan my goals and each step to be carried out, there is always something that blindsides me. I am a planner, I plan and I plan and I plan, so trust me when I say when I fall down hard, I fall into the deepest pit when something I didn’t plan for comes and hits me over. Honestly, it’s something that I am really trying to work on, because I have realized that it has hindered me quite a bit; damn you anxiety! But it’s always about balance. I think I have made some progress even though I see my old ways creeping up on me from time to time, that’ll never change, Solid as a Rock like Kalonji. Corny.
I think the best thing you could have when dealing with anxiety is a support system; great friends, a significant other, family, peers, professors etc. I am not saying to just get up and divulge information about your personal life to anyone, what I’m saying is, great friends, significant others, families, peers, be there for the ones you care about, actually show them that you care about them, it speaks magnitudes. Ask them how they’re doing, even if they lie to you, ask them. It means more than you know. It means so much knowing that there is always someone there who cares about you and is always looking out for your wellbeing. During this time I had one single person who truly knew everything that was happening to me, he knows who he is, shout out to you, and even though he didn’t know exactly what to do, or how to help, his presence alone was comforting, and trust me, that was heart-warming.
Another thing that really helped me were the counselling services and the nurses at my university. I know many people may be skeptical about going to a professional, because of the stigma, but trust me, it helped me, even though I only went a couple times.
I also found that keeping myself occupied, whether it be with school work, extra-curricular activities, I would say social life, but that honestly I don’t know what that is, never felt that, never experienced that emotion, I just know many have it. Honestly, I need to take this seriously. I found when I had so many things to do (even though I worried about that as well..) it allowed me to escape my mind sometimes. This doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore your emotions, but sometimes you just need a break from your mind, it can be overwhelming.
Allow yourself time to heal, allow yourself to hurt, feel, cry, scream, express yourself. Don’t rush your healing process, take all the time in the world, there is no set time for you to recover. Talk to yourself, and no it is not crazy, and honestly that notion needs to be cut out. How are you going to know yourself if you don’t talk to yourself? I journal & write to myself, I have learned to love and thrive in my solitude. It’s your biggest asset, well that and your mind. I’ve learned to be unapologetic with my emotions, they’re mine, whether I express them or not, they’re mine and absolutely no one can make me feel guilty about them.
Anxiety tends to be overlooked, and is seen as people over-reacting or being dramatic, well… It damn sure ain’t. I think it’s really important that people make themselves aware of what anxiety and other mental illnesses entail and stop dismissing people who you deem as dramatic. Mental illnesses are real!! Support is important. I can’t stress that enough. I don’t know why but I feel like I’m leaving something out… Honestly I’ve been procrastinating with this post, for a very long while, so much has been happening and I’m just longing for some emotional down time. Things have been happening so fast and I just need to put my life on pause for a while, but by the looks of it, that won’t happen… so… Anyways.
I hope this post was somewhat beneficial or maybe just like I said, you’ll know something else about me. Have a good one and I hope you had a great summer! Don’t forget to email me if there’s anything at all you want to ask.