Struggling with Anxiety?

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By Trinity Johnston

Have you ever felt like you can’t catch a breath? Maybe you cry uncontrollably and don’t know how to stop? Or just get horrified about something that you feel like isn’t a big deal? Well I have felt the same way. I never knew what was happening and I didn’t know what was wrong with me until I talked to my mom about it. I learned that I have anxiety.

When I’m in class, I like to be the quiet one.  Even if I know the answer to the question, I won’t raise my hand.  When my teacher puts me on the spot, I start sweating and I feel like I’m going to burst into tears. The thought of putting myself out there for the whole class to listen to me just freaks me out. Sometimes to overcome it, I either laugh about it or I have to take a second to catch my breath.  But I never feel comfortable and would rather run out of the classroom.

I love to play sports, especially volleyball and soccer. Most of the time I enjoy competing and having fun with my teammates.  But if our team is losing or I make a bad play, I get very overwhelmed and start to sweat, cry, and panic.  I feel like I’m letting my teammates down. The way I handle this is to jab my fingernails into my palm. I figure if I can feel the pain in my palms, it takes away the pain in my head.

Even after all of these incidents, the time in the cafeteria is by far the worst. Whenever I step foot into the cafeteria, I always get horrible vibes that everyone is watching me and hates my existence. I put thoughts into my head. I think that no one is talking to me because they hate me, or they don’t want me there.  I’ll go into the bathroom during lunch and just cry my eyes out and then get mad at my friends for not showing up to check on me. I wish it was easier.  I wish I could walk into the cafeteria and find a seat next to my friends without feeling so anxious.

I decided to talk to my parents about my feelings and I’m glad I did.  I didn’t want to continue feeling so stressed out all the time.  My mom had me talk to a counselor and we figured out how to help me. For class, I got a stress ball to help whenever I get called on or even feel little bit anxious. I also talked to my teachers to let them know what was happening so they wouldn’t put me on the spot.  For my sports, I also use a stress ball along with doing some choreographed breaths to calm me down.  I can do the breathing techniques on the soccer field or volleyball courts so easily and nobody even knows.  It helps me keep my heartrate down.  I haven’t completely solved the issue of the lunchroom because I still get into my head, but I do feel better that I talked to someone about it.  I learned that it’s ok to take a moment and let out my feelings in a private area. I even turned my closet into a safe quiet space to go whenever I just need to chill out and take time for myself.

I would have been in a much worse position if I never decided to tell my parents about all of my feelings.  If you struggle with anxiety, please talk to someone.  I feel so much better knowing that it happens to lots of people, not just me.  Plus, I found ways to deal with it that truly help when I’m in situations that make me anxious.