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How Anxiety Has Taught Me To Live

Anxiety. It’s probably one of the most common forms of mental illness in our society today.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1 percent of Americans struggle with anxiety. Even though that is a large portion of the population, it is not hard to feel alone if you are personally dealing with it.

I’ve dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I can recall a time when I was around eight or nine years old at school. My heart was racing as I waited for my mom to come and pick me up that day. I kept thinking, “What if she forgets to pick me up? What if she doesn’t remember me?” At the time I was dealing with bad separation anxiety. Looking back I realize how unrealistic that sounded, but those were true thoughts I had on a day to day basis as a child.

Around this time was also when my insomniac habits started to settle in. When bedtime came around, I just could not get to sleep. I would constantly check the time and see that it was getting later and later into the middle of the night. My heart would start racing again, and I would lie wide awake until 2 A.M. or so. A nine-year-old, lying awake at 2 a.m. because my mind wouldn’t let me sleep.

This sparked my obsession with time. I would constantly watch the clock all day, checking to see what the time was. I would then count down my hours until the dreaded bedtime, and panic would ensue me as soon as I realized I had to try to sleep in an hour. My bed, the place that is supposed to be safe and warm, became my enemy.

On top of all of these things, I figured out that I hated a lot of things about myself. I hated my body, my image, how I acted. Other people did too, and for a while I wouldn’t catch a break from the mean comments.

Fast forward some years, and here we are today. I am 17 years old, a senior in highschool, and I am just trying to enjoy my life and make the most of it. My anxiety has never left. It’s been here, and I’m still surviving the storm.

Some days are worse than others, but I know I have to push through. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t usually share too much about this topic, so sitting here and writing this is sort of terrifying. I know I need to though, because I have learned that I am not the only person in the world struggling.

Anxiety can come into your life in many ways and take many shapes. Somedays it may be the size of a mouse, and just peek around the corner once or twice to let you know it’s still there.

Other days, it may be more like a Bear. It doesn’t try to sneak around, and it just attacks as soon as you are aware of it.

I have been trying very hard not to let it take over my life. I’ve been looking at the bright side of things. It’s hard because I actually have to try to be happy a lot, but I know it’s what is needed to be done.

I know how important self love is, and that is probably the hardest part about everything. I am making an effort to become happy with who I am, and heal those wounds I have endured a long time ago.

My mind may race so much that it keeps me up late, or I might worry too much to the point where I feel sick, but I am not dying. I am living. Even though living feels like the scariest thing to do sometimes, I am doing it.

Time is inevitable. It can’t be stopped, I can’t ignore it.

My anxiety has taught me that I am only going to be here for so long. I am not going to live forever. I can’t get caught up in the never ending cycle of worrying. The day will come to an “end,” but the next day I will have a chance to start over. I don’t wanna spend my life worrying about how and when I am going to do things, I just want to live.

Anxiety can affect anybody. For anyone out there struggling, you are not alone. I promise.

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Written by Lindsay Torey

Book lover, plant caregiver, and Harry Potter fanatic.