Our anxious minds

Our anxious minds


There are moments in our lives where all the details and small things are amplified, when it feels as if life

has blown up to the point where everything is over the top and worse than it is.Helpless to the inevitable,

no one can persuade you to feel differently. Physically you feel cracked, the pieces of your sanity wither

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and drift off to oblivion. Walking to the first period final, there is no other sensation of dread, no other

feeling of loss of control and stability in what is at that moment, the worst event of your life. The heat

rises, your skin takes on a flushing tomato quality, hands start to shake, body is ready to flee or to fight.

The result of this event is either life or death, there is no middle ground, no sunny warmth between the

heat wave and the blizzard, only pandemonium and chaos that is spilling over the edges of the chasm

inside your head.

This is what anxiety feels like.

24 hours a day, all seven days of the week.

So how do we live our lives when we feel like we are being shoved under a microscope? We stop, take a

step back, and reassess the situation. Anxiety often makes people feel like a mouse being shoved in a tiny

cardboard box. It can’t get out and it feels helpless for not having the ability to solve the problem.

For the people who struggle with anxiety on a daily basis, there are no words to begin to describe the

empathy that someone with anxiety can feel for you. Its a very personal topic, and I would venture a

guess to say that most people who have anxiety probably don’t externalize it to other people.

As finals are rolling across the green here, anxiety is undoubtedly looming above, waiting to pounce, but

instead of allowing it to swallow us up in its all encompassing gullet, I think its important to take a second

to look at the facts.

What even is anxiety?

According to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), “Anxiety is a normal part of daily life and the “fight

or flight” response to stress. It can even motivate us to do our best or solve problems and make changes

in our lives. For many people, however, anxiety and panic attacks start interfering with daily life and


First things first:

Understand that anxiety is not always negative.

Say what? How can hyperventilating while feeling smothered and overwhelming stress be positive? As

the PBS said though, anxiety in small doses is normal! Everyone experiences it, whether for an upcoming

play, for a sports event, or for your finals, stress and anxiety is inevitable.

What makes anxiety a problem though, is when it becomes a day-to-day occupation and interruption with

daily life. If anxiety is causing someone to withdraw from activities and social situations, then it is an


A long time ago, when cavemen roamed the land and were ignorant of the wonders of the iPhone 6 and

heated water, the dangers that they encountered were way more dramatic and severe than those which

we experience today. For a caveman, a real danger would be the threat of attack from a grizzly bear. For

us though, our biggest stresses and “dangers” are things like feeling accepted by our peers for our body

image, making straight A’s or pulling your act together in the last five minutes of a tough game. The

cavemen would respond to stress and anxiety in the same way that we do today, but in different contexts.

Hot flashes, sensations of smothering, inability to concentrate, etc, etc, etc, were the caveman’s and our

“fight or flight” response. When you are experiencing anxiety, or a panic attack, your body is preparing

itself to fight the threat, or to run away from it.

Anxiety in school helps us to get our homework done and to meet deadlines at work. Without these skills,

we would be left as extremely lazy people that have no sense of fulfillment in our obligations.

Number 2: You are not alone

Anxiety makes people feel isolated, you are like an iceberg in the middle of the Pacific. It’s the feeling

that no one really understands the overwhelming pressure, the feeling that you can’t tell anyone about

your struggles, and the feeling that you will be judged as “crazy” or “weird” if you start talking.

According to Elements Behavioral Health, anxiety affects 25% of all teens and 30% of all teen girls.

Celebrities aren’t immune to this either: Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, Emma Stone, Amanda Seyfried and

Jennifer Lawrence have talked about their struggles with anxiety. Emma Stone explained, “I was just kind

of immobilized by it, I didn’t want to go to my friends’ houses or hang out with anybody, and nobody

really understood.”

A popular YouTuber, Zoe Sugg, or as she is commonly known, Zoella, talks about her own anxiety on

her blog, “I hold back on so many things, that I feel like I can never 100% enjoy myself in any situation.”

Not convinced? Start talking to friends to see if they feel the same way, you will be surprised by the

number of people who can empathize.

There are five types of anxiety disorders:

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

2. Social Anxiety Disorder

3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

5. Panic Disorder

On my next post, I’ll start talking about generalized anxiety disorder and discussing some of the


I started experiencing anxiety when I entered my freshman year. I am a very self-motivated person, and

often times this self-motivation goes too far. The pressure that I put on myself to get good grades and

be a good student was just too much. People that know me will tell you that I am definitely a conscious

minded person, you wouldn’t see me cheating on a test or tripping people up in the hallway. The

“baddest” thing I’ve ever done is steal food from the kitchen when I’m not supposed to.

I didn’t have any reason to look into my anxiety until the stress became too much in my sophomore

year. The preceding catalyst to my extreme stress was my first panic attack in my freshmen year. I took

Geometry, and math has never been my strong suit. Math and I are like oil and water, we just do not mix.

That night, I had homework due for the next day, and I just didn’t understand it. I don’t even remember

what it was about, all I remember is sitting at my kitchen table, the heat rising in my body like an oven

while my parents are sitting in front of me trying to explain it.

None of the words they were saying were getting processed, it was like this invisible Wall of China had

been constructed around my head that was rejecting all the information being thrown at it. Crying, I

remember getting extremely, extremely, hot, and dizzy. There was this sense that I wasn’t really there,

like I was disconnected from the event and all I was doing was just panicking. The worst part was the

hyperventilating, most of the time when I have a panic attack, I hyperventilate. For the people who have

seen me panic, I probably look like I was having an asthma attack. Breathing in so sharply, so quickly,

that air has to wiggle its way down my throat. Not only was I hyperventilating, but the muscles in my

hand froze up and shook violently, I remember it being stuck in the position to hold a pencil, whenever I

tried to open it, it would just go back to the way it was.

After that first panic attack I wasn’t bothered by anxiety too much until my sophomore year again, when

it came to be around this time in the year for finals, and I experienced intense feelings of smothering,

walking around feeling as if someone was choking me as I went through the motions of school work.

I do not profess to be a medical professional, I am just a high school junior who is struggling her way

through 11th grade like everyone else in my class. I may be different because I have anxiety, but I can say

that I feel confident after having it for a year that it has made me stronger mentally, even when I don’t

think so in my most vulnerable moments.

As you go into your finals Fossil, I ask that you don’t stress out too much about the little things because

at the end of the day they won’t matter. You are alive, and there will be another day tomorrow. Focus

on the positives, I can’t profess to being a happy ball of sunshine all the time myself, but my New Years

Resolution for 2015 is going to be to start thinking more positively. Maybe we all should do the same.

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