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Wellness > Mental Health

The Nightmare Zone: My Battle With Anxiety in College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Let’s keep it real: many people struggle with their mental health. I am one of those people, and like many others, I suffer from anxiety. I call my anxiety “Big Dog Anxiety” because it feels like it’s always barking at me. While I like to think I’m Miss Perfect and handle everything just fine, I don’t. Anxiety is hard when I see all my friends thriving and having fun while I’m feeling stuck in my room, too nervous to join in on the fun. I’ve finally made it to my senior year at Florida State University, and with that always comes a reminiscence of how I’ve grown throughout my time here. I’ve experienced the most growth in my anxiety during college. From a fragile freshman to a strong senior, it’s been a journey.

Most people’s first response to scary situations is fight, flight, or freeze. I learned my reaction was to freeze when I first moved to Tallahassee and was so anxious I was glued to my bed. Never leaving my room, I barely even made it to class, and I let myself stew in my self-made paranoia. For a long time, I allowed my anxiety to be my main personality trait, I made very few friends, and I almost never put myself out there. All the friends that I did have were having the average freshman experience (being a menace to Tallahassee society), but my uncomfortable self just watched from my window as college passed me by. 


welcome to the weekend of a college student with no friends #fyp #college #umd

♬ lol im famous – Trixisye

I made and still make so many mistakes when trying to deal with my anxiety; it’s like I go into panic mode. The biggest thing I have found helpful is being vulnerable with people. When I am candid with people about my situation, I apologize and try to do better in the future and people are typically very understanding with me. I have been so grateful for the space my friends, professors, and mentors have given me to be anxious while pushing me out of my comfort zone. For me, anxiety’s best friend is avoidance, and they love to hang out. I will ghost anything that makes me anxious and label it as “keeping my peace” to not sound toxic. 

It’s nice to finally be in a place where I can be happy. This isn’t to say that I don’t still feel anxiety, because I definitely do. It just means that I no longer let it get in the way of me experiencing life. I am so grateful for all the friends I have met along the way and excited for the people and opportunities the future has in store. The best piece of advice I have from senior me to freshman me is always to be gentle with yourself and stay laughing. 

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From Naples, FL Kaitlyn is a student at FSU majoring in Editing, Writing, and Media. During her time at FSU she’s worked on the undergraduate literary staff before moving up to the masthead as well as being apart of the Beta Mu Gamma Phi Beta chapter.