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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

I was described as a “worrywart” from a very young age. It was just a known fact that I worried about the wellbeing of everyone around me. People described me as empathetic when I cried because a friend got hurt or careful when I refused to climb the monkey bars.

I was so fearful that someone would get hurt and that I would lose them that I attempted to avoid any and all danger. I worried about my parents making it home safe from work and about my friends leaving me because I talked too much.

When I was entering third grade, I began experiencing what I called “chest pains”, which was likely my body’s response to anxiety. I had headaches so often that year that I was prescribed MRI’s and studies to clear my brain for anything serious. Doctors were concerned for me, and they blamed the chest pains on maturing.

I dealt with weekly headaches that made me feel isolated from other kids. When everyone else was on the swings, my head was throbbing in pain.

I didn’t want to be socially isolated, so I pushed through the pain and played like the rest of the kids. I now believe that my lack of diagnosis was primarily because it didn’t keep me from attending school or away from playing sports. I didn’t ever want to miss out, so I pushed myself to the limit even when I felt horribly sick.

Doctors brushed it aside and I was prescribed medication for my headaches at the young age of 10. This did not last long because I was so young, and I did not want to take medicine every time I didn’t feel good.

I wanted to know what was wrong, but they never suspected (or at least they never told me) that it was physical symptoms of anxiety that were holding me back.
It wasn’t until I was in high school that I concluded that I had general anxiety disorder. I received my official anxiety diagnosis in early 2023 and I got a more serious diagnosis of OCD in July 2023.

Finding out that I have OCD was something that I grappled with for months. I didn’t want anyone else to know and I worried that people would see me differently.

I didn’t know anyone who spoke openly about having OCD, and I didn’t know who would take me seriously. I wanted resources, but struggling with my mental health also meant that I felt like I couldn’t reach out to anyone.

I thought this was something I would always have to live with, and while it never will fully go away, I have found some resources.

I entered counseling in February 2023 with a local to my hometown counselor, but by September, I switched to telehealth with a new counselor.

This new advocate for me changed the game. She tried new types of therapy and kept me accountable. Within weeks of switching to meeting with her, I had already felt so much more heard.

I was with someone who wanted me to succeed and encouraged me to jump outside of my comfort zone.

I never thought that I would be able to confront my biggest fears and talk about the compulsions I have dealt with. Having this resource is an immense privilege, and one that could not have come at a better time.

I have lived nearly my entire college life thus far with this counselor and she has seen the growth that I have made in such a short period of time.

I am a huge advocate for counseling/therapy, and I think that everyone should give it a shot at least once. You never know what talking to another person can do for you.

I did not expect to have such a drastic change in the way I think, but I certainly have. Another thing to remember is that your journey is yours, and you have to advocate for yourself. This has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since becoming a legal adult.

You might be silently struggling or bottling up the way you feel, but you don’t have to be alone. You are allowed to talk about your experiences and find the support you need. Never feel like you are less than because you need help. Everyone needs help along the way because we are all human. Be kind to yourself!

Alexis Serio is a new writer for Her Campus at St. Bonaventure University. She plans to write pieces surrounding topics of feminism, entertainment, and campus life. Alexis is a freshman studying Communication, Social Justice, and Advocacy. Beyond Her Campus, Alexis spends her time studying with friends and getting involved in the many clubs SBU has to offer. In her free time, you can find Alexis reading, watching Modern Family, or making her friends laugh when it's "Alexis Time". She is also a lover of almost any type of music, as long as she can sing along with it.