Battling with Anxiety
March 7, 2019
I stand up–my breathing gets heavy, the light-headedness is overwhelming, my stomach is turning, like laundry going harshly around and round the dryer–my legs are shaking while I walk up. Their eyes follow me. I start to speak–my face turns tomato red, my voice begins to quake and crack, causing my cheeks to burn up even more–the teacher is staring at me, beginning to grade me, my presentation–I’m struggling to remember everything I had practiced the last three nights.
I forget that I’m supposed to be standing, not leaning. I skip information because I’m rushing to get it over and I’m going too fast. I look down at my feet a lot. Trying to even my breathing, it’s not working. I finally finish presenting. The weight on my chest doesn’t go away–if anything it’s heavier.
All I can think of is how bad I did, how everyone will remember and they’ll laugh, or talk about me. In truth, nobody will remember in a week, but I will always know.
I know that I will be replaying it in my head–over and over–for at least three days trying to convince myself that it’s fine. After class, I run around trying to just move, move away from people. I go to my next class and ask the teacher if I can use the restroom, two minutes before the bell rings. I go to the empty bathroom–lock myself in a stall and whimper–silently crying–trying to catch my breath.
All my anxiety pours into my mind, clouding my judgement. I make it look like I’m okay. I tell them my contacts were bothering me, or that I yawned, something small and stupid, then proceed with class, smiling, feigning happiness. This isn’t the biggest thing that I’m freaking out over, though.
My anxiety, the insecurities have been there for awhile. I don’t know when it started and I sure as hell don’t know when it will stop.
After I had woken up and (on a good day- good meaning I didn’t snooze my alarm 6 times) eaten breakfast, I go to brush my teeth. Noticing my hair. It’s falling out of the ponytail, I had placed it in the day before. I stood in the mirror, just looking at my acne and my hair. I notice how my acne is beginning to get bad again, I look at the acne medication laying on my counter, reminding me that I failed to use it daily, like I’m supposed to, just another thing I can’t succeed in.
I look at my teeth and notice how despite, the whitening toothpaste I use, my teeth aren’t as white as the models I follow on Instagram. I notice how my smile is awkward and lopsided. I hate it. I refuse to take a picture of me with my face fully in it, I don’t usually smile in the pictures either. I avoid looking at those flaws in the mirror while I brush my teeth.
I head to my messy bedroom. I pick out my outfit, it’s usually the same thing, because it hides my weight and the rest of my flaws. A way oversized hoodie and black leggings, or gray leggings depending on what is cleaner. Some days I’m bold. Some days, I just put on the makeup, and the jeans, and the shirt that isn’t too big on me usually. I immediately regret it noticing my legs–they look fat. I look at the girls who walk around my school, they’re beautiful, all of them, but I can’t seem to find that in myself.
All the confidence I had this morning is gone. But I wear the smile and I pick something to focus on. I text my friends in class, telling them I’m uncomfortable, they tell me same, because it helps me. I have some friends who actually try and help, but they aren’t sure really what to do.
My favorite people are the people who try and make me laugh, always succeeding because while I am anxious and overwhelmed and my mind is going a mile a minute. I’m still alive, healthy, and breathing. I love to be happy. I truly do. I love being positive and helping people. My dream career is anything working, helping kids. I love it and them. It doesn’t take much for me to be happy, it doesn’t take much for me to smile or laugh, but I can’t ever seem to get me to be able to. Someone else always has to be the one, they have to distract me, and it works! But it can’t continue forever. So usually I listen to music.
I go into my basement and I pretend I’m a princess from Scotland who is secretly a double agent, while I lip-sync to my favorite songs. Or maybe I’m in Mamma Mia or The Greatest Showman cast is sitting on my couch and the only way to save them is to sing every song of theirs perfectly. And I always do. Dancing, music, singing, this is what fuels me. Drives me. Calms me down.
Honestly, I listen to happy, sad, rap, pop, rock, instrumental, country, I listen to it all. Anything by the Jonas Brothers or anything that takes me back, back to when I was a young girl, sitting on the floor, in the south side, with the wind pushing against our dead bolted door, as my mom slept in, seeing as she was working nights and going to college in the day- she took online classes.
I watched the shows with the perfect kids and the perfect families, but underneath they weren’t perfect. It took me years to see this but nobody is perfect which is why I know that it is okay for me to feel completely overwhelmed, and stressed out of my mind, because I know in the end it won’t matter.
Right now, with the stress of school, college, family, homework, job, gas, car issues period, trying to have a social life, it’s all too much. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time, to the point that it doesn’t make sense.
Even writing this article is giving me anxiety.
Everyone’s anxiety is different, mine differs too. I’m not always anxious, I don’t always feel bad about my size or shape, but some days, I do, and it’s always different. I would like to put to bed the myth that every person who has anxiety has anxiety attacks or depression. I don’t have depression, I don’t believe I’m having anxiety attacks.
I’m struggling to find me, to be okay with me. I’m afraid of the embarrassment, it’s the reason I don’t try out for anything. I can be bold with my friends, but I can’t with myself.
Writing this article isn’t bold, it’s a life source. It’s me putting my thoughts, feelings, everything into something, it’s my distraction. I didn’t plan on writing this, I just needed to. I had to present in my fifth period. It went bad, like bad bad, and instead of fussing over it, and getting upset, I channeled it into here.
I know this is a long article and I thank you for coming with me for this long. I think it’s important for those of us with anxiety. We’re all different, but at the same time we are all similar. We all hate it when someone tells us we “have nothing to be stressed about.”
But I’m okay. And you are too.