I took this photo last weekend, just before my boyfriend made a joking offhand comment about my anxiety. And I can’t stop thinking about it.
Since middle school, I’ve been an anxious person. Talking in class made me super nervous and I had perpetually sweaty hands. In high school, it escalated to the point where I would have an upset stomach every. single. morning. because I was so nervous about the idea of driving myself to school. I overthought everything and overanalyzed anything anyone said to me.
Then I moved away to school for a year and my anxiety reached its peak. Being in an unfamiliar place where I didn’t know very many people was extremely tough for me. It was excruciating trying to make friends and, by the spring semester, I spent most of my time writing in my dorm room, ate all of my meals alone, and counted down the days until I would next get the opportunity to go home. Ultimately, I chose to move back home and pursue my college education while in my hometown.
Over the past year, my anxiety really leveled out and I developed a lot of confidence in areas that I had none: being a “smart kid”, performance arts, and public speaking. Recently, though, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. About my career path, where I’ll live, my relationship, even children. I think it has been overwhelming me.
The struggle of being an ambitious person but also an anxious person is that I want so badly to do bold things: hike up mountains, backpack across Europe, move to the other side of the country. But at the same time, I’m scared. So many things could go wrong. A classic anxiety symptom that I exhibit quite frequently is imagining worst-case scenarios. You can see how this is problematic.
I want to be better. I want to be better. I want to do things because I know it’ll be worth it. I just need to push myself, and that’s hard. But I want to be better. And so I wake up in the morning, and I try again.