“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford
Anxiety. It is not something I like to talk about, yet it’s the only thing I feel like I can talk about because lately that’s all that’s been on my mind.
Two summers ago, I was getting dropped off at a soccer camp and physically couldn’t get out of the car. I was too scared of all the “what ifs.” What if I can’t keep up during sprints? What if I’m wearing the wrong uniform and everyone judges me? What if I’m not skilled enough to hold my own at this camp?
It’s all completely blown out of proportion to a rational, functioning human being, but to an anxious person? Completely rational. The world is either blossoming or broken, no in between. And this cyclical life of happiness and depression often encourages continual self-reflection, daily epiphanies, and dramatic overnight changes.
So, of course, after my soccer fiasco, I reinvented my life. I wanted to be more resilient and outgoing, so I started challenging my anxiety. I started dating people. Actually writing instead of just thinking about it. Telling the people I love that I love them. It was, in every way, the best year of my life.
And this high from self-improvement, accompanied with the novelty and excitement of college, carried me through my first month at Susquehanna. I was staying up every other night dancing until my hall mates laugh, watching too many movies with friends, and going on adventures absolutely everywhere. It all was so freeing. That was until I had a breakdown, something I don’t experience too often.
After my breakdown, I sat alone a lot all around campus, thinking before retreating back to my dorm room, wounded. How do I get out of this? I wasn’t sure. So I started writing down all my problems, including a dislike for my majors, a lack of self-confidence, an overly selfless nature, and denying many, many mistaken beliefs. It was, although radically honest and somewhat hard to hear, therapeutic. I came out unsure of myself, dangerously introspective, but aware, awake, and much more prepared in a counter intuitive way. Prepared for what? Change, I say! And so here I am before you, changing. And boy, am I excited! I have so many plans for the future and an actual direction! In fact, I’m meeting with my adviser soon and planning on changing everything, so my life, although still scrambled, is coming together, and I am ready.
So yes, anxiety is god-awful and is devastatingly selfish and alarmingly heartless and recklessly abusive, but god, on the other side of it? There is no greater fulfillment. I don’t condone it by any means, but hey, it’s manageable, and somehow, even in the most broken and dastardly times, I have persisted. That’s gotta mean something, right? I’m not sure, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be enough, and I’m not sure I can ever be okay, and I’m not sure I’ll be all right…
And somehow I know better… because that’s all irrational and no matter what..
I’ll be okay.