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


            I’ve lived my entire life wondering about the unimaginable, the unexplainable, and most importantly: the unavoidable. So much so, that it has kept me in a trance-like-state, dancing like a ballerina, mixing both the real and the imaginary world. I can remember, my high school days: there I am, a “try-hard” they called me. Working away at notes with meaningless organizational patterns, my eyes fixated on the lecturer – watching every movement – wary of the consequences of missing the smallest of details. With my head hung low, my hands wrote rapidly details upon details of debatably important facts and commentary. Suddenly, I feel the tides slowly making their way into my lungs, slowly submerging my heart into a sea of water. That feeling – not just any feeling, but THAT feeling. The feeling that comes when you feel your heart skip-a-beat, literally a step, a walk, a run, and a burst. The feeling that comes when you feel your breath hitch, the cold air mocking the warmth of your body and slaps of betrayal piercing your skin. Then the tremor, oh god, not the freaking tremor. Steady hands grip your pencil tightly, perfecting the turns and twists where words of beauty reside in the calmest of hands. Instead, the very hands that wrap delicately around the smallest of things become an unwanted homicide, as the imaginary encapsulates any and all senses of reality. 

            “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I’ve always thought the answer to be no, because we hardly ever notice the calmest of a crowd, to have ever been subject to the worst forms of torment. I, for one, have known this sort of torment all my life, but have also come to find that even when I am, and I have been, in a crowd of people- no one hardly ever notices my abuser. But of course, I see them. I see them clearly. I hear them, I can FEEL them- I see them. I see them, and they see me! But there is no one there to help me, even with the abundance of fear shining through glossy eyes and forsaken tears. I know my abuser, and I know their name. But it’s funny, because it has never been a game of hide-and-seek between me and them. Instead, they placate my thoughts and my feelings, and with meticulous movements they know how to cause a ruckus in the finest of times. 

            It was this very day, sitting in her office I met my abuser face to face. Of course, never an unrecognizable face, for they lurked in recitals, tests, presentations, socials, you name it- they’d been there. As I sat in her office, in an off meeting of sorts because I never really called my abuser out by name, as much as I did define them by action, and what they did to me. But today was the day, just like any other day, where I had to be the one who was mature, who was put together, who was thoughtful,  who was care-free. I had to be the one to look her in the eyes, and as the feeling washed over me, in a hushed tone I muttered their name: A-N-X-I-E-T-Y. 

            Anxiety, to be put short, can make you feel like an addict. It’s like a drug, and you would never have expected it to be an actual drug, right? Because it isn’t something you can smoke or inject. It’s like a hidden talent, where on one of the most normal days possible, poof, there it goes! No one is clapping for you though, and it isn’t some grandiose gesture for people to gawk at. In my case, people have definitely gawked at the fits of shaking and my enlarged puffy eyes. For me, it’s my own body that seemingly is trying to escape me as I lose control over my hands and my legs. Even my head, it starts to shake back and forth, like a clock that goes,tick-tock-tick-tock, as my head cocks from one side to the next. But for the few that do notice, they always ask me this: Why? 

            Ah, yes, the age-old question of why. For centuries, humans have questioned fact, and consistently refuted feelings of inconsistency with scientific explanation. Of all the concepts I have ever learned in science, I think the one that stuck most to me was a single person by the name of Sigmund Freud. Now, Freud- he got it.  He got it to the point that he contested with the most stubborn institutions of the world, glossing over any mere resemblances to “I’m losing my mind and I don’t know how to fix it.” To ask me why I feel the way I do, is the equivalent to questioning my ability to breathe. I mean, I can do it, my body just does it on its own. I don’t know how to not do it, but I know it needs to be done so I can actually live. Anxiety though, well- it consistently takes bits me with it, reducing me to nothing but a bag of bones. A casualty of tragedies. My entire life is a tragedy, that I am constantly pondering over how and when I will meet my ending. I am in a constant state of questioning to the point that it physically wreaks havoc upon my body.  It is with this terrible disease, this epidemic of disaster coursing through my mind – that I have always been unafraid of the unknown. I am so afraid, to the point that I am just completely unwilling to traverse anywhere near the open and question the inconclusive. This could be raising my hand in class, walking down the stairs ( a fear that I’ll trip and fall, then people will laugh at me,) or even sneezing – I am always keenly aware of every little thing that I do, having the biggest impact on my life.

            I never wanted to be this way though. You’d be surprised by that fact, since I could articulate this feeling so well- that I never wanted any part in this horrid experiment. I thought that this was my life’s ending, to be ransacked with crazed thoughts and an uncontrollable body. In the comer of my room, enwrapped in total darkness, with my night light the only possibility of a new life waiting for me, shining bright. So, I asked for help, because I knew I didn’t want to be this way any longer, and I especially knew I could not live my life this way if I wanted a nice, long, and happy life. I was shocked by the answer I was given, to be told to simply “deal with it.” But it was in these words that I found a better life for myself, or as they call-it my new “coping “mechanism. It’s a really odd coping mechanism to have, I thought so too- confronting the imaginary with a baton of reality? You’d be surprised at how well it works, mustering every ounce of courage in your body, and forcing yourself to reject nightmares. It’s a weird method, and it goes like this: Think of something you don’t like. Have you thought of it? Now if you are put in a position to where you have to confront this “something,” I want you to think of all the worst things to result. You could die, you could off a cliff, get run of a car, tell me everything. Now, reevaluating your circumstance, where do you find yourself? Are you dead? Are you in a hospital bed? Are you buried in a grave? Where are you? A special person, close to me, taught me this coping mechanism, and it’s honestly been my saving grace for a while now. I think it goes to show how we, as humans, tend to take our circumstances for granted and believe the worst of them.  

Annabella Chamoun-Ko is a current freshman attending Southern Methodist University I’m hopes of majoring in Business and Communications. Bella is involved in multiple organizations including HerCampus, and the Belle Tones. She loves to sing, and play the guitar in her free time - if there is any left - as well as write. Stay tuned to hear more from Bella!
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