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A Manifesto of Anxiety

An Explanation and Expression of an Anxious Person

I was born with this disease, this disorder. I honestly never noticed it “coming on” until I was in fifth grade. I have suspicions that my father might’ve known sooner. As a child, I was uncomfortable around strangers and nearly never spoke with my peers. The teachers had said that I was anti-social. They suspected that I had mental disabilities. However my family never admitted that I ever had a problem. I just thought that I wanted to be alone with my books. However, one day I felt myself becoming so lonely.

As a child, I had maybe two friends I was close with. I would play with them on the playground and sometimes outside of school, but rarely was I found with my nose out of a book. That was my childhood, and I enjoyed it. Truly, I did. I never really felt the overwhelming darkness until later on in my life.

I think one of the worst years of my life was when my father and mother started thinking I had this disorder. That year was in fifth grade. My teacher—I remember her face very clearly—would scold me, telling me I always had to look her in the eye. This may not seem like a big deal, but I was a little girl who didn't know why I was afraid, or why looking my teacher in the eye frightened me so badly. No matter how old I get, I'll never forget the look in her eye.

I will never be able to place the emotions she held in that blue stare, but it scared me. It haunts me on occasion, even today. As I’m writing this, I very clearly recall her face, her stare. Though, that memory doesn’t hurt me the way it used to, especially now that I have found the help I need. During the beginning, or maybe just before, my sophomore year in high school, I remember talking with my mother. We were laying in my bed, just talking. I can’t remember what led us to this topic, but somehow we had wound up talking about my feelings. I remember staring up the ceiling of my bedroom, saying, "I'm tired of feeling this way." After that day, my parents took me to see my doctor. My physician agreed my parents and I'll never forget the look in my mother eyes when my doctor confirmed it. She had tears in her eyes and looked so ashamed.

I never really thought that I had anxiety, but now that I think back on my childhood, a lot of things seem more apparent. Today, I have moments of relapse, but if I keep my head high, I struggle less. I’m thriving more so now that I know about my disorder and ways to keep myself occupied. So many people have helped me with this struggle. Now let me help you, the reader, with anxiety. If you do not suffer from anxiety, I’ve added a section to help you understand your child, friend or significant other.

How to "Deal" with Someone Who Has Anxiety

I’m writing this section while thinking of my mother. She wasn’t born with an anxiety disorder; thus, she doesn’t always know how to respond when I feel stress. My mother is quite the social butterfly. I know I wish I could be like her. I hope I could be open and show happiness towards people I don’t know, without the use of medication. My mother and I differ in so many ways. She would love to be out and about in the world doing anything and everything, while I, on the other hand, feel stressed and uncomfortable being in public.

I’m going to tell you, the reader, what I told my mother. Give us time. Give those with anxiety time. Let us take baby steps. We cannot make leaps and bounds. Some of us do not have that ability yet, though we’ll get there. One way or another, we will.

Also, please, whatever you do, do not try and force different situations upon an anxiety sufferer. This will only cause us to push away from society and force us down a path that often leads to isolation and stress. We are not fragile, but we do need a little extra time and care. We don’t need our hand to be held, but we do need a shoulder to lean on at times. For all anxiety sufferers in the world, I promise, one day, we’ll get there.

Cures for Anxiety

This section is a big ass lie. This is a trash pile thrown into a dumpster, and that dumpster has been lit on fire. There is no cure for anxiety, there are only ways to relieve the overwhelming pressure and stress that is pouring out of every pore within your body. It took me some time to learn these relievers but there are a few that truly help me and perhaps they can work for all of you.

I learned early on from my father a simple breathing technique. This helps me relax in a public space, where my anxiety is at it's highest. It's as simple as taking a few deep breaths and holding you're breath for a few seconds, then slowly letting it out. I like to call this technique "Smelling the Roses; Blowing Out the Candles." On your inhale, imagine you're smelling a bouquet of roses or other flowers you may enjoy, and on your exhale, blow out through your mouth—as if you were blowing out the flame on the candle.

My other reliever developed once I got into college, oddly enough. I find it very relieving to clean. It doesn't relax me exactly, but I often clean in a very desperate way until my dorm room is as organized as it can be. My roommate sits on her bed and watches me anxiety-clean quite a lot. She offers to help, but we both know it'd just stress me out more. I'm sure living with someone in such a small space is what has caused me to start anxiety cleaning. I don't think the reason behind it is all that important right now, but it always makes me feel better, and that is what's important.

I've written this to express my anxieties in a little bit of a brighter light since I've been confused lately. So maybe, my reader, if you're feeling confused and lost at this moment, you can go and write everything that you're thinking down. Having all your thoughts on paper, or even typed on a computer, will make you feel much better.

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