Everyone has their own anchor and chains. Some are depression, OCD, or anorexia; mine is anxiety. I often get asked, “What is anxiety like?” Anxiety is diving deep underwater, then swimming back up to the surface, but the surface is farther away than it seems, so you suddenly feel as if you are about to drown. It’s different for everyone, but the way I describe it is, I feel as if I’m drowning. My anxiety is the anchor pulling me down. Sometimes it’s heavier on certain days compared to others. Either way, I can never reach the top of the water. The top of the water represents the clarity that I crave.
I believe my anchor latched on in sixth grade. I moved during the summer, before sixth grade, from Texas to Wisconsin. Everyone had their cliques, and I was stuck alone, an anchor pulling my leg. I didn’t realize at the time what I was experiencing was anxiety. I refused to believe I had anxiety. How could anxiety make me feel sick to the core? I still can’t answer that question.
My anxiety in sixth grade started small. At first, only the usual things made me nervous; raising my hand in class, presentations, meeting new people, etc… I made up excuses in my head why I behaved like this. I’m new and I just started middle school. I have the right to be nervous. I’ll break out of my shell soon. But I didn’t. In fact, it got worse. The anchor on my leg grew heavier and heavier and I was falling deeper and deeper into the abyss. That’s when seventh grade began.
I thought that seventh grade would be a breeze, but it turned out to be the complete opposite. This is when my anchor has been the heaviest, and the water didn’t feel light and smooth like it should. It felt thick and heavy like glue.
I was drowning and I was too scared to scream for a savior.
I don’t know why I was suddenly more anxious that year, but I believe my insecurities may have added to that anchor. My insecurities are my chains. They wrapped around my body, covering me in heavy iron locks and links. My insecurities locked up my self-confidence, but most importantly, my self-love.
Not only did it make me incapable of loving myself, but it made me believe that no one would ever be capable of loving me.
One of the things I get told the most is,”Anxiety or mental health issues, aren’t real.” But they are; they’re just as real as any physical health problem. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I’m done with being told to, “Get over it.” Mental health issues aren’t just something you can, “get over.” But it is something you can help, which is exactly what I did.
I was tired of this heavy anchor and heavy chains, so I made the choice to cut them off.
At the start of eighth grade, I was as anxious as ever. I again didn’t know anyone in my house, but instead of just dealing with the anchor pulling on my leg and the chains holding me down; I got help. I finally saw a doctor for my anxiety. I’m not going to say I was cured, but the anchor lightened and the chains loosened. I realize now that the reason I didn’t get help sooner was because I was scared I was just being dramatic. I was scared that no one would believe me and it couldn’t and wouldn’t get better. But it did.
I want people with anxiety to know that you’re not being overdramatic, you’re not being unreasonable, and you’re not, “looking for attention”. If you want things to get better, tell someone and soon enough you’ll break free from your anchor and chains. You are more than your anxiety. You are not pathetic, you are strong.