The worst thing someone can do is tell an anxious person to “calm down”. Its like when someone loses their keys and you ask, “Where was the last place you had them?”. I have been an anxious person since the early 90s a.k.a. my birth. In elementary school I used to stress that there wouldn’t be enough pizza at the end of the year party or that by last lunch, they’d run out of chocolate milk and I’d be stuck with…1% milk (god forbid).
I’m not talking about anxiety or panic disorders in a scientific manner, I’m just talking about how I experience anxiety. I’m no psychology major, although I’d like to consider myself a psych expert due to the numerous lessons I’ve learned from watching Dr. George Huang on Law and Order: SVU. I’m just talking about how I deal with my anxiety. There are positives and negatives to being an anxious person. One positive aspect is feeling compelled to complete almost any task handed to you because if you don’t, you’ll feel like you’ve given up. This can be good in the workplace or in the classroom, but not so good in more personal settings. You feel like you must take on any challenge, even if it makes you nervous. Another positive aspect is that you’re always aware…of everything. (i.e. your surroundings, your to-do list, creepy noises in your house). Some negative aspects include nervousness, feeling the need to do everything your told and not even thinking twice about it. There have been so many instances where I respond with a rapid “Sure!” without the person even finishing their sentence. That’s when I’m on my Ella Enchanted flow and I just do what I’m told. Is that submissive? I would say no because I don’t want to think of myself as submissive. Let’s go with obedient. I hate confrontation and letting people down, so for the longest time (and occasionally) I would just do what I was asked to please all parties. As I got older, especially after I entered college, I realized that you can’t please everyone, whether it’s your professor, parents, friends, siblings, etc. We all care about how people think about us (yes, even you Mr./Ms. I do me #riseandgrindtooblessedtobestressedonlygodcanjudge). When I say people, I’m talking about those we interact with often, especially those we consider friends and family. Oh, and some more negative aspects of anxiety? Here’s a full list from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/
My anxiety has been a blessing and a curse. It’s forced me to think about others and consider their feelings and needs. I’ve grown to be a caring person, but this can quickly turn dangerous. People can smell anxiety from a mile away. It’s sad to think that someone would take advantage of you, but that’s life. If you identify as an “anxious person”, people will automatically feel pity for you. They’ll start telling you to “relax” (UGH) “calm down” (NO) and my personal favorite “it could be worse”. I know it can be worse because I’ve already imagined several different scenarios in my head, but thanks for the heads up. But seriously, I do understand that most of the time it’s just people looking out for you. Over the last few years, I’ve been more aware of my anxiety (shoutout to 10 page syllabi) but I’m thankful that I am aware of my feelings and can identify how and why I feel the way I do. Some days it feels unbearable, like I’m being suffocated by everything and everyone around me. Anxiety has held me back from doing so many things. Anxiety has fueled my fears and once you’ve got negative thoughts in your head, it can be hard to get them out. Other days, it feels like a “thing” of the past and just a phase I was going through. I don’t think my anxiety will ever go away completely…I’m too paranoid for that. I’ll always be a worry wart at heart. I cannot ignore my anxiety, it’s become a part of who I am. As each day passes, I’m learning how to deal with my anxiety. I’m learning how to describe my feelings of anxiety to others and I’m not asking for anyone’s pity when I do so. I’m asking for a moment to let me explain why I feel the way I feel and why I fear the way I fear. I believe we all experience different levels of anxiety, we just express our anxiety in different ways. I guess I’m just trying to finally take the advice that people give me. “Calm down” “Think positively” “Don’t worry”. Its tough, but it takes time. I’m aware of all things, both negative and positive, sometimes more negative than positive. Overall, I’ve learned that anxiety is like visiting a Chinese buffet: It can make me nauseous, but it can also give me butterflies in my stomach.