Almost everyone deals with some sort of overwhelming emotions when arriving on campus. Even just being on campus can cause us to be uncomfortable and anxious. I am here to share my story with you, and to bring the message of you are not alone. Anxiety is complicated; any mental illness is exhausting. I’ve been an anxious and overwhelmed person my whole life. Anxiety has and will continue to ruin so many opportunities for me. As I grew older my anxiety became severe, and I stopped being able to differentiate normal situations from the ones that are mixed with my anxious thoughts. It's complex, everyone’s experience with anxiety is different.
Personally, anxiety has characterized me as anti-social and different from the rest of my family. I come from a semi-strict foreign household who absolutely dismisses the idea of anxiety and any mental illnesses. I always attempted to recognize my emotions, and I have grown to learn how to handle it. One of the hardest things is communicating with parents. It's hurtful when family members or friends ask why I am not at a family function and my parents have to lie and say I’m not feeling well, instead of saying she can’t handle large crowds. It is not normalized in my culture and that’s a huge problem. Millions of people suffer from mental illnesses such as Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and so many others, yet can’t find the right treatment, help, or the bare minimum. Mental illnesses deserve to be given the recognition that they are real and not faked for attention.
In 2020, some people still take anxiety very lightly and don’t acknowledge the actual effects it has on a person's mental health. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. It’s okay to be anxious. It’s okay that your anxiety has set limits and boundaries on your social life. It’s okay anxiety holds you back from the things you want to accomplish. It’s okay that even the city makes you anxious. Recognizing and finding ways to cope with anxiety is better than downplaying it. Here are some of my personal tips on how to help you or try to help you with anxiety/severe anxiety
- Taking deep breaths - This soothes me down a lot, and I have a little bit of time to tell myself that it’s okay and that it’s just my anxiety
- Water/Hot water - My hands tend to shake abnormally when I’m anxious so I either drink water, take a hot shower or wash my hands with warm water
- Walking - taking a stroll alone, significant other, friends, or family helps a lot. Especially fresh air, because anxiety can make you feel trapped
- Hugs or Air Hugs - This always calms me down because I feel like I have someone to hold me in place and comfort me.
I just want you to know that your feelings are absolutely valid. It's just a matter of how to find ways to cope and to sustain the feeling. There are times where I know I am loved, but my anxiety is so loud. I hope my tips will help you, and please stay safe.