It’s hard to put into words how someone with anxiety feels. The easiest way I can tell you what we are going through is to tell you to imagine yourself trapped in a cave with no light, food, or water and attempt to survive.
The reality of it isn’t fun. It isn’t the slightest bit easy. It feels like you’re stuck in quicksand with nowhere to move. This isn’t a letter for you to feel pity on the people that have anxiety issues like me. This is a letter to let you know that those people don’t want you to feel that way.
I woke up this morning knowing I had to get through two classes, field hockey practice and living the daily social college lifestyle.
An hour into waking up, I laid in bed for another 20 minutes, checked my social media, my text messages, got out of bed, brushed my teeth, did my make-up, straightened my hair, put clothes on and started to feel anxious. Where did this lead me? Straight back into my bed attempting to calm myself down so I can make it through the day.
Having anxiety in college isn’t fun.
You are constantly surrounded by people who may have no clue what is racing through your mind. In college it’s hard knowing you have anxiety issues like this, because in college, everyone thinks they have anxiety issues.
“Normal” college students:
- “OH MY GOD. I forgot I have a test tomorrow what am I going to do!”
- “I feel like my anxiety is through the roof right now because I didn’t study!”
- “College just gives me anxiety”
- *over it within the next two hours*
This to me isn’t anxiety.
This to me is a easy fix.
What I have and what other people striving through this with me, isn’t easily fixable.
This is a letter for the people that I’m surrounded by; the people that don’t know how to handle what I am going through. The people that care about me and the people that are out there wondering how to care for others that feel the same way I do.
First things first. Don’t try to fix them.
The last thing I want is someone forcing something on me.
I am my own person and I want to be able to fix me on my own.
I have learned that by having this issue that people try to fix me all the time. They want to drag me out of my room and force me to do things that I do not want to do. Putting me in a social situation when I am feeling anxious is a catalyst. It is literally a ticking time bomb.
I am strong and I know that I am. I also am independent. I’d rather figure out my own mind then for someone to try to attempt to analyze my situation.
Second, don’t force them to tell you anything.
We will talk when we are ready.
This isn’t something to take lightly.
Something you say to me that you think was a nudge to get me to talk may haunt me for a week before I go to bed.
Again, we will talk when we are ready, treat us like a normal person.
Third, don’t ignore us.
I have learned that by having this, people want to stray away from you.
That is literally the worst thing that someone could do to me.
There are moments that I want to just jump into one of my friends arms and cry everything out.
But, I can’t do that; that would be too many times a week.
Be there for us when we need you though. If I send a text that says I’m overly anxious this morning, I’m confiding in you; I need you at that moment to talk me through it.
Ignoring my message might be easy for you because you don’t know how to handle it.
That puts me in a worse situation than where I started this morning.
Now, not only am I naturally anxious, I’m also wondering why you didn’t answer me and what I did wrong.
Don’t let us feel like we are worthless to your life.
Fourth, if you can’t personally handle it, let us know.
Being in the dark is our life. We never know when the next attack is coming next.
If you feel that it is too much for you then please let us know because we will do our best to keep our issues away from you whenever possible.
I don’t know how many times people push me aside because they didn’t know how to handle what was going on in my mind.
That made me feel like I didn’t matter, which made me worse.
And finally, we are people just like you.
We didn’t chose to have this, because trust me if I could go back and pick this, I wouldn’t.
I may break down and have episodes where I feel like I can’t even take another step to get through my day.
Half the time, I’m crying inside my own head.
But I also know that I need to fix myself.
And I am working on becoming a better me.
We are all working on becoming better people.
So work with us, we care for you just as much as you care for us.
With love from all the people fighting through this with me.
We thank you for being patient.