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From someone who has suffered from anxiety for the past four years, managing your stress is very important. I fought my anxiety for most of my adult life. I have always been stressed out or worried about things that I cannot control. My sophomore year of college was the breaking point. It got so bad that it started to affect my physical health. I would be so anxious my nose would bleed, my heart would race, my sleep schedule was non-existent, and I had panic attacks all the time. After I felt like I hit rock bottom, I finally went to the doctors. I was put on anxiety medication and finally after years, my anxiety was finally being managed.

          I never wanted to rely on medication. I thought that being on medication meant something was wrong. That is not the case at all. I realized that I needed help and that I couldn’t do it on my own. I have now been managing my anxiety and stress with medication for three years.

          I’m not saying that my medication solved my stress and anxiety just like that. Because that is not the case. I finally owned my anxiety. I sought out a counselor on campus. I went to the counselor for about two months. It helped me so much! After I finished counseling, I started to journal. I found that writing things down helped me. I would write what made me stressed or anxious down and reread them later. It helped me distinguish what triggered my anxiety. Now, I use an app to track my days. This app has five different types of days; perfect, good, average, ehh, and bad. It is set up like a calendar and each day you pick what kind of day you had and activities that you did that day. This really helps me visualize how my anxiety fluctuates and changes.

          Medication and all those different tools helped me to manage my anxiety, but my support system was the driving force to help me. My mom was there every step of the way. She answered every panic attack ridden phone call, wiped countless tears each weekend I would do the two-hour drive home, and was the sole person who convinced me to get help from a doctor. My boyfriend listened to hundreds of tear-filled phone calls and answered tons of text messages riddled with fear and insecurity. My dad started sending me inspirational messages each morning. I have never deleted a single one of those and still reread them two years later. My friends picked up my broken pieces of my life and waited until I could put them back together. Without these people helping me, I would be a very different person today.

          If you are struggling with anxiety, stress, or worry; you are not alone. I thought I was fighting anxiety all alone. It helps to talk to someone who has struggled with anxiety. I am still after three years learning to manage my anxiety. I still have bad days, but I have a lot more good days. Find a support system to help you work through it. They will help make the difference in your life. Find what makes you happy and do it because it makes you happy. At the end of the day, being happy is the most important thing. Life is too short to not have freedom from your own mind and worries. Please reach out to someone if you need help. It is important, you are important.

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