Everyone’s story is different, but mine started in elementary school. I honestly have only faint memories of this, but my mom tells me that one of my teachers got very upset with me one day because I asked too many questions. That was the day my anxiety started. I was known in my class as “the cryer.” I will never forget the time a fellow student told me that when he asked our 6th-grade teacher why I cried so much, she said it was because I was overemotional. It literally felt like a punch in the gut.
It wasn’t until I was in college when I started keeping a journal, that I realized how often I was getting these intense hyperventilating fits. It was then that my mom told me that the name of my “intense hyperventilating fits” was anxiety. I knew I needed to get more information. It was the only way my mind could be at ease, so I bought the book “Natural Relief for Anxiety” and learned everything I could about my body and how it functions. Knowledge is power, after all.
Read more: Anxiety is my Hidden Enemy
After some time, I wanted to try therapy. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anyone to talk to in my life, I just didn’t have anyone to help me solve my anxiety problems in life. With the help of my mom, I searched for a therapist who works with people suffering from anxiety and more importantly, with people my age. It was nerve-wracking thinking about telling someone my story, and to tell you the truth, I lied to my therapist for the first 2-3 years. That’s how hard it was for me to allow someone to know me fully. I was so afraid of their response.
Also, she became a friend-like person to me, and since I have a hard time disappointing people I like, I would always come in and say “everything’s good!”. I ended up taking a break from seeing her and came back a few years later confessing that I wasn’t being completely honest and starting anew. It felt like a load off my shoulders when I explained why I lied to her but, to this day I still have to remind my brain not to give the go-to answer on certain topics. Ironically, I believe that she knows when I’m lying, but it’s not her job to call me out for being a liar. That’s something I had to do on my own.
Read more: Surviving Panic Attacks
To this day, I am working on improving myself all the time. My goal is not only to be able to guide myself through a panic attack with ease (because let’s face it, most of the time there’s no stopping them) but also to be able to pinpoint where the anxiety is coming from. For me, it’s low blood sugar, lack of sleep, certain family members, and more that I’m still learning.
Today I can honestly say that I am exactly where I want to be and where I should be at 26. I’m always working on my anxiety, but right now I am focusing on loving myself and enjoying time by myself. I’m hoping that if I can master that, I’ll be able to out-think the bad thoughts anxiety brings into my head. My other free time is spent checking in on loved ones that I haven’t heard from in a long time. I would never wish anxiety or depression on anyone, and I know the hardest step is saying “I am so anxious lately!”. And because of that, it’s important to notice small signs. It’s just a matter of someone taking steps to reach out. Even if it is to say “In case nobody told you today: you’re amazing. You’re beautiful.”