Anxiety. A normal feeling among all individuals. Everyone gets anxious occasionally, and you’re supposed to! Your body’s fight or flight system gets activated, which was the best way for our ancestors to fight for survival. However, our bodies now will send our anxiety into overdrive over things that may be slightly less dangerous than a wild animal trying to eat us. There is a common misconception between experiencing anxious feelings and having an anxiety disorder. Anxiety: common feelings. Anxiety disorder: feeling anxiety way too often over seemingly irrational things.
I’ve always experienced extreme anxiety, but I thought it was normal. When I started middle school, everything got so much worse. I was so depressed and anxious all of the time. I socially isolated myself and had no friends: I was miserable.
I tried reaching out to my parents to tell them I didn’t want to be alive anymore and they told me I was overreacting and being a spoiled brat. That was extremely discouraging to me; I acquired an eating disorder and turned to harming myself. I wanted to die but I didn’t have the courage to do anything about it, and thank God I didn’t. Admittedly, I was miserable for years. From the time I was 11 until I was about 17 I was in my darkest place, and even now I still struggle from time to time.
Once I got to college, I was able to take the reins on my mental health and get the help I needed. I was diagnosed with autism, anxiety, and depression and I’m currently getting help for all of my disorders.
For everyone reading this: there is hope. Help is out there. You are so loved, you are worth it. My advice to anyone struggling is research what you’re going through and see if there are any simple ways to help yourself: you deserve it.
When you first started to notice your symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, what did you think of them? When did you recognize that you wanted (or needed) help? Looking back, is there anything that stands out to you when recognizing symptoms?