Let's Talk: Anxiety

Anxiety is not always an easy subject to talk about. Society tells us that anxiety is a weakness and that we must conceal it. They tell us that we’re “being irrational” and that our fears and feelings aren’t valid. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that your feelings are, in fact, valid. Don’t let anyone ever tell you they’re not. Here’s my journey with anxiety and how I’ve helped to manage mine.

I’ve struggled with anxiety for about four years now. As a little girl, I was shy around those I didn’t know and got scared easily but never truly felt anxious. It wasn’t until sophomore year of high school that I was diagnosed with IBS and developed major anxiety and depression that caused me to miss school for three months. The thought of stepping through the school doors instantly sent my body into complete panic mode. After a few months of therapy, I finally felt better, transferred schools, and my previous life had returned.

Fast forward two years and I was going to Puerto Rico for spring break. I hadn’t been on a plane in some years but it was a decently quick ride. At first, I was okay but then came the turbulence. My body instantly returned to that state of sheer fear and panic. I thought to myself “this is how I’m going to die.” I was uncomfortable during the rest of the flight. Once we landed I was okay but then returning back home, the same thing happened. I didn’t give it much thought afterward and continued on with my life.

A year ago, a similar occurrence happened to and from Florida, but again, I thought nothing of it.

Now to this year. I had been traveling a lot too and from school by train, subway, car, and sometimes bus. I started to notice that I would have irrational fears about dying while traveling either by the subway falling over or in a car crash. You name it, I probably thought it. I would try to remind myself to breathe, that it would all be okay. I would listen to my music to try to drown out my thoughts. Nothing worked. It wasn’t until I reached my destination that I was finally able to calm down and relax.

In January of this year, I had my annual wellness check-up with my doctor. You know those depression and anxiety screening tools they give you? Yeah, I used to laugh at them and pass with flying colors. That was until this year. My doctor came in and asked, “how’d you do?” I replied “uhhhh not so good” while nervously laughing. Turns out I didn’t do well at all. My doctor and I talked about it for a little and we finally decided that I would begin taking Lexapro (escitalopram), an anti-depressant and anxiety medication. Also, come to find out both of my parents have also dealt with anxiety.

I was pretty nervous at first to begin taking it and really didn’t know what to expect. The first few days were fine and I felt pretty normal. Then it was like a switch just turned on and I went into full psycho mode. I was agitated, upset, angry, and sad all the time. I didn’t feel like myself at all. My roommates, as well as everyone around me, could tell. I was getting worse day by day, constantly crying and wishing I could just be alone. I even emailed my doctor saying I wanted out of this medication, it was just too much. She told me to keep taking it, and boy was she right.

After about two weeks, I had a heart-to-heart with my roomie and bff (shoutout Em, love ya) that finally broke the cycle. I cried so so much, hugged it out, and began to feel better. My mood finally stabilized and I began to feel like myself again. I was happy again. 

Now for the moment of truth. I had to travel back home for a follow-up appointment for the medication. I was nervous to see how I would react while on the medication. Let me tell you, it was a whole new world. I no longer felt uncomfortable or had any thoughts of death. Quite honestly, it was a miracle.

Now I’m not telling you to go and ask your doctor for meds. I’m not telling you you even need meds. I wrote this to tell you my story and how I dealt with my anxiety. Everyone’s journey is different and people have their own ways of coping. If that means hanging out with friends, do that. If you need to go for a run or exercise, do that. If you just need to be alone, do that. You do what's best for you.

I wrote this to start the conversation and make talking about mental health more normalized. Everyone is going through their own battles and it’s important to let yourself feel the feels. What you shouldn’t do is let them rule your life and take away from your joy. I have always struggled with letting my emotions get to me but I can finally say they no longer control me.

Sorry for the long ramble but if you’ve made it this far, congrats. I love you.

If you ever want to talk, my Instagram is @sofietrappp. Feel free to DM me, I am always here to talk to you. I never want anyone to feel alone in this world, especially during these tough times. 

I hope to see y’all soon.