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Mental Health Spotlight: Anxiety

Mental+Health+Spotlight%3A+Anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 31.1% of the adult population lives with anxiety. While I couldnt find one definitive statistic, I was reminded that many people suffer from anxiety and that nobody is alone in the suffering. I have also suffered from anxiety since I was a child.

For me, anxiety has evolved over the years. As a childabout fourth or fifth grademy social anxiety controlled much of what I did or didnt do. Making friends was always hard because I thought too much about fitting in. A big key to my social anxiety was the fear of standing out. I remember being super conscious about the clothes I wore and how I looked. Around that time is when my body image issues began, something that goes hand- in -hand with anxiety.

For the longest time, I refused to walk into a room full of people because I knew theyd stare at me, passing judgment for some reason. Even up until high school I refused to go to a classroom if I was preassigned (having to go to another class because my teacher wasnt there). Id sit in the office instead and wait for that class period to be over.

Anxiety made choices very hard to make, especially as a kid. I remember being allowed to buy a toy from the store as an allowance and Id be stuck between two options, frustrating enough that I would cry. Ive always had a strong sense of missing out if I made the wrong choice.

Nowadays my anxiety presents itself differently. After years of therapy, my social anxiety is way more manageable than it used to be. Im actually way more outgoing in social situations than I ever have been.

My current anxiety presents itself differently. I normally make sure Im at least twenty minutes early for anything I need to attend because the idea of being late stresses me out. I tend to catastrophize many situations, such as if a friend is a little late to lunch, I assume the worst and think something tragic has happened to them. This kind of thinking happens to me all the time and almost constantly.

Ive come such a long way from the shy, anxiety-ridden child I was. The idea of giving a presentation or speech in class terrified me probably until I began college. Now I fake confidence as much as I can and try my best.

Sometimes anxiety hits me out of the blue. I could be minding my own business, scrolling through social media or talking to friends and it hits. My heart starts speeding, my breathing gets shallower, and that tightness pulls in my chest. At first, I get caught off guard, almost forgetting that I have anxiety. When I realize it is anxiety, I remember to start controlling my breathing. In for four, hold for four, and out for four. It takes a minute, but it usually works.
Anxiety is so common and yet, it can be debilitating. People can suffer from anxiety for years without knowing it is anxiety. It can control a person, but the key is to take control of it right back, whether it be therapy, medication, breathing exercises, or so many other things. Anxiety can become manageable; there is always hope.

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About the Contributor
Grayson Sekercak
Grayson Sekercak, Staff Reporter
Grayson Sekercak is a sophomore majoring in creative writing. He plays saxophone in the marching band and enjoys music. Grayson wants to use his degree to go into editing and publishing and become a successful author.
 
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