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About my anxiety

| Thursday, October 1, 2015

This past Sunday was supposed to be a typical Sunday afternoon here in South Bend, Indiana: a photo department meeting at 3 p.m., photo event at 5 and a pile of homework I needed to finished. However, this week’s photo schedule begged to differ. There it was, my name, signed up for the “Inside Column.” WHAT?! The Inside Column? OH GOD, WHY? I’M JUST A LOWLY PHOTOGRAPHER WHO NO WRITE GOOD! I can’t do anything like this! I’m not smart. Why am I even in college? I’m a horrible person. I should just die. Etc. Etc. Etc. Yeah… that’s just from getting assigned a 500 word column. (You should’ve heard my thoughts when I got assigned to shoot the Virginia football game. They would’ve made even Lil Wayne blush.)

I guess that’s why I decided to write about my experiences with anxiety. There are many connotations attached to the word “anxiety.” For me, it means having panic attacks from everyday activities in my life. For those who do not share the chemical imbalances in their brain, an event such as the one I mentioned above might only cause thoughts such as, “Oh jeez, I have to write something. That’s a little scary,” and they can still function as a normal human being. For those with anxiety, however, unplanned occurrences can be crippling.

I’m very open about my anxiety. I have mostly accepted that anxiety is another part of my life. I have to take 100mg of Zoloft every night in order to keep the 100,000,000,000,000,000 butterflies from storming into my stomach every time a normal, unplanned event happens in my life. My friends know the signs of when I’m having a panic attack. Usually, I start stuttering like that scene where Dr. Evil was in space (“It’s freaking freezing in here Mr. Bigglesworth.” Classic.) or I get very quiet and run into a corner to stay away from all the people. This usually happens at parties, which is not the best for college.

I have good people in my life who understand that I take things a bit slower than the average person, or a panic attack might ensue. I’m extremely lucky to have these people in my life. Without my friends and family, I would not be here today living up the college life. However, I’m not naïve. I know there are many more people in our community who have shut themselves out from the rest of the world. Recently, I met a fellow student who, for some odd reason, could not grasp the concept of anxiety. “You take medicine for being nervous? What the hell is wrong with you?” For those who don’t have the support or someone they can cry with when experiences such as these happen, anxiety can be unbearable. To live in a constant state of fear can and will take a toll on both a person’s mind and soul. To those who have anxiety, I’m right there with you. I want to let you know that everything will be okay. Find friends, professors, ANYONE to talk to about your feelings. We are not freaks with attention issues. We are normal human beings who understand what it means to be afraid.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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