College, Told by Anxiety

anx·i·e·ty (aNGˈzīədē): A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting approximately 18% of the population aged 18 and older? That’s a lot of people. 40 million to be exact. And let’s not forget that that number includes college students, who work hard to meet a million expectations every single day. I’m fairly open about my struggles with mental illness; I feel that putting my thoughts into words helps me make sense of all the things going on in my mind. As my first year of college draws to a close, I have decided to compile a list of very real (yet silly) things that my anxiety has told me throughout the year. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I guarantee that there’s something on this list that will make you go, “wow, I’m not alone”. So I present to you: college, as told by anxiety.

See those girls over there? You don’t know them but they’re probably laughing at you.

Close the door to your dorm room. Too many people will come in and try to talk to you. It’ll just be awkward.

You’re going to fail that exam tomorrow so you might as well not study.

You should really just stay in bed today.

You have no friends.

JK, yeah you do. But they all lowkey hate you.

Don’t get close to people. Someday they’ll learn how weird you truly are.

There’s too many people at this party. It’s time for you to freak out.

Tears are necessary.

Whatever is going on right now is the biggest deal ever and you will never forget this moment.

Everyone in your class is going to remember how you completely bombed your speech today.

In fact, they’re probably telling all their friends about it as we speak.

That guy always sees you eating alone in the dining hall. He probably thinks you’re such a loser.

You’re totally crazy.

Your feelings are irrational.

You should totally stay up all night worrying about something beyond your control!

Nah, actually just have really crazy dreams about it. That’ll freak you out.

Those girls are totally prettier than you so you might as well not even try to be their friend.

Hide your anxiety. Pretend like everything’s fine.

Look! There’s an acquaintance walking towards you. Avoid eye contact at all costs.

There’s that girl you’ve always wanted to be friends with. But don’t say hi, the conversation would be awkward anyways.

The point of this post is not to throw myself a pity party, simply to voice some feelings I’ve had throughout the year. Despite the challenges anxiety poses for me, I feel that I have come a long way this past year. If you are a part of that 40 million, remember that you are absolutely not alone. And even if you just occasionally have some of these thoughts, you’re not the only one.

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