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My Anxious Heart

By , Carteret, NJ

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Okay so anxiety is definitely a thing I don’t like to talk about because I don’t like to broadcast that I have a “problem.” Also I hate all the usual, “Are you ok?” and “What’s wrong?” questions because A) I’m not okay and B) I don’t know what’s wrong.

Deep Breath. C’mon, you can do this. Don’t think, just write.

Common nervousness can set me off and make me anxious, yeah sure, but one thing that I’ve noticed in myself is that I am so scared of failing that whenever I’m brought into a new situation where I might fail I get bad again. It’s scary. And I lied I didn’t notice it in myself my friends helped me understand myself because there are only 3 people that know just how bad my anxiety is and one of them asked me once what my biggest fear was and I said, “failure.”

Stop fidgeting. No one’s here. You’re safe.
Are you really? How safe can you be?
No. STOP. You are fine. Keep going.

So like for example I used to get extremely anxious in my chemistry classes just because my parents would be so hard on me about my grades and chemistry is not my best subject. I’ve cried so many times just from over thinking in that stupid class and that made me feel horrible because I hate crying in front of other people and I hate being so vulnerable and when that happens I’m not just sad anymore I’m angry. Angry with myself that I’m being so weak and helpless and anger and anxiety don’t exactly mix well and I take it out on my friends which I don’t mean to but I do. I apologize to people a lot.

You should apologize right now. You’re rambling.
Am I? I’m sorry.
No you're not you’re telling your story. Speak louder.
Breathe in. Breathe out.

Sometimes I can’t even speak in front of crowds which isn’t really a public speaking fear of mine it’s more of an, “I’m gonna mess up and everyone’s gonna laugh at me and never forget it,” fear of mine. There’s a list of how a panic attack starts for me and it starts with my breathing. I can feel it becoming harder for me to catch my breath and my heart starts to beat faster and faster and faster. I can’t run away though especially if I’m in school so my hands start to shake and I start to fidget a lot like with my hair or my glasses or my shirt. And no one can stand too close to me because I feel overwhelmed and no one can make any loud noises because it feels louder in my head and you certainly can’t touch me because it freaks me out and I feel like someone or something is out to get me.

Deep breath. You’re okay.

And then my eyes close and I don’t want to be anywhere or do anything or talk to anyone unless it’s with one of my 3 friends that know but even then they don’t know what to do and sometimes it makes it worse and I hate that because I want to love them and I want them to love me but I make it hard for them to love me and I get mad quicker than they think. I control my anger better than my anxiety.

You want to yell. You want to hit something. Do it. Let your anger out.
No. Just ball your fists and keep your head high like you always do.
How is anyone going to take you seriously when you're so easy to walk all over?
Pick your battles. It’s okay to get angry but you have to breathe.
Deep breath.

The craziest thing though is that despite how shy I can be I can also be very outgoing and that’s another reason I hate telling people about my anxiety because I don’t want people to ask me “How can you have anxiety when you’re so extroverted?” or “Why are you being so shy? This isn’t like you.” And those are exactly the kind of people that don’t know me at all. Even when I was a baby my family had to be the first to arrive at a party because if they tried to walk into a room full of people I would throw a tantrum. And that was when I was a baby, like 1 or 2 years old. Imagine how much the feeling has intensified since then. And people don’t understand that. Not even my parents. They don’t even understand that I get anxious in front of family, so yeah I’m gonna have my moments where I don't want to go out, either.

But now that you kind of get the gist of just how bad my anxiety can get with the little things maybe you’ll understand how I feel when the bigger stuff happens. Like when my parents are thinking about divorce. Or when I’m being pressured to apply for scholarships and apply for every college out there. Or when my aunt has breast cancer. Or when I’m in love with my best friend but he likes someone else. Or when my family wants to move out of the town I grew up in. Or when I haven’t seen my best friend in so long. Or when I try to do something I’m supposed to be good at, but end up sucking at it. Or when I feel so isolated and alone and no one will help me or even notice I’m drowning and I’m stuck trying to save myself.

Breathe. Cry, it’s okay. Let it out.
I’m sorry.
Don’t apologize. Just breathe. You’re okay. You’re okay.

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