The Beginning of Anxiety
It was hard to know when it started, but I always know it has been here. It wasn’t until recently, maybe in the last five months, when it got bad. As an university student, I used to the pressures of all the assignments and having a job, but one night I broke.
It was two days before one of my largest assignments were due, and it was high level German. This German project meant me studying abroad in Germany; this German project meant me finishing my minor in college. My German is fine, but it certainly wasn’t end of the year good. I had asked a German at my university to correct it for me, and she said yes. When she didn’t get back to me in a week, I started to panic, but I kept thinking “She has her own life. She’ll get to it.” It didn’t matter because that night I couldn’t sleep and as the night progressed, it only got worse. I was thrown into a full panic attack; the first panic attack I ever had in my life. The next day I was sore and could barely speak. My bones hurt.
I still remember how my eyes sounded when they moved in their sockets after all the crying I had done: like little suction cups. I remember how my eyelids sounded after all the crying I had done: like clicking. I remember how much I hated myself, like I had never felt that way before, wherever part of me was disgusting.
Since then, I have been thrown into numerous panic attacks. None of them have been as bad, but they have still been there. Before the incident, I had some anxieties, but now they’re heightened.
I used to not like driving; now I hate driving. I’ve never been in an accident to cause this fear. In fact, I passed my driver’s test with flying colors and usually I am complimented on my driving. Now, even in mid-August with the heat, all I think about is the snow that is coming, and this snow will cause ice. This ice will get me into an accident. I will kill someone; I will kill myself. Three months away from snow, and I have this fear. I have driven in blizzards before, but ever since my massive panic attack, it doesn’t matter. Everything will go wrong.
When I try to speak to people about it, they don’t quite understand, and I think it is because in my life I am not known as weak. I don’t speak my feelings or my problems. I go head in and I take on the world. I am prideful. I remind myself “I am not weak. I am not weak.”
Yet, as someone who didn’t ever experience mental health issues in my life, it has come as quite a shock. One normal day I was perfectly fine, and then suddenly around eleven at night, when I couldn’t sleep, the world around me started to fall apart. I didn’t know what to do, and there was no way for me to get out of the abyss.
I had seen people around me with mental health, and they all had their own ways of dealing with me. Even when I tried to seek help, it was hard for me to express how I felt. Once again, I am confident woman who doesn’t take most things seriously, so how would I expect a professional to take me seriously?
Not entirely sure what my point is here, when I usually write political and cultural articles, but I think it might be that pride gets in the way. I think it might be that I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m hoping someone else has some answers. I think it might be I want someone who is going through this right now, where it’s just the beginning and doesn’t know what’s going on, to know most of us don’t know.
While it seems like it’s just one time, it’s only because I now compare anything to that night. Two months ago I showed up in Germany for my study abroad, and immediately I crumbled. I had traveled before; I studied abroad before and for longer times. But suddenly, I thought that the world was going to end around in Germany. In fact, I had begged my parents not to make me go. The whole experience of Germany was wasted on me because the whole time I waited for the world to end.
It also comes in irrational fears, but they aren’t irrational to me. Even though there was a string of mass shootings in movie theatres in 2012, I sit through a movie. No cinema is safe to me. There is nowhere to go and you’re trapped. Even though there were mass shootings around the United States, cinemas are the only places I can’t go. I go class fine, and I go to restaurants fine. I go clubs fine. But movie theatres are not happening.
Someone tried to explain to me that I had these fears before, but ever since I had a massive panic attack, all my fears have turned into anxieties and all of it was intensified. Now I can’t go ten minutes without some anxiety reminding me. It follows me into my dreams, which turns them into nightmares.
All of this is just another anxiety, thinking that I am anxiety issues, which gives me anxiety. This is just the beginning of whatever comes next, and it gives anxiety because I don’t know. I like control, and I don’t have it. This the beginning, and I fear the ending.