Anxiety | Teen Ink

Anxiety

March 2, 2014
By ramfthomas4 PLATINUM, South Bend, Indiana
ramfthomas4 PLATINUM, South Bend, Indiana
26 articles 1 photo 98 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought.”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy


Most people have felt anxiety. If you haven’t, you must be a very unusual, reckless, and awesome person. Maybe your name is Bond, James Bond. But I digress. This is not an essay about the absence of anxiety- it is an essay on the all-pervading plague of it.

I like to think that in most things I am a fairly average person. I certainly don’t have some sort of complex that makes me scared of everything, all the time. And I don’t suffer from paralyzing shyness either. But the fact remains that I am anxious ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it’s reasonable anxiety. After all, who likes going up on a stage? (I don’t)


For me, anxiety is not a rare occurrence. Certain things set it off. Here is an abridged list of things that make me anxious:
1. Talking to strangers.
2. Talking to people I don’t have a close relationship with.
3. Going on any sort of stage, or even just in front of people.
4. Having people read things I’ve written.
5. Ordering food at fast food restaurants (pathetic, right?)

If you are ever anxious you are probably familiar with the symptoms. My stomach starts to feel cold, the muscles in my face tighten, (try smiling when you’re really nervous) my palms become sweaty. I tend to twist my fingers together in nervous knots. If I’m holding a book, I’ll skim through the pages. I’ll move my feet around a lot. When I’m talking to someone and they start to disagree with me, my throat gets tight, I start blushing, and sometimes I come seconds from crying. This happens even in discussions with family.

It took me a little while to figure out the pattern of my anxiety. It isn’t that I’m afraid of people- I’m afraid of looking dumb in front of people. Even though I know I’m not dumb I feel as if I am seconds away from humiliating myself. Yes, even the teenager behind the cash register at McDonalds makes me feel this way.

Just to clarify- I am not always anxious. When I talk with close friends I’m fine. When I discuss subject I am knowledgeable about, I’m fine. I think there is something to learn from this. All of us are anxious about messing up. (except James Bond) But the ratio of times I worry about it vs. times I actually fail is about 50 to 1. So we should worry less. After all, those people who I worry will judge me? They’re more worried about their own mistakes.


The author's comments:
My New Years goal is to write a piece for TeenInk each month. So I wrote this. :)

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