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Dear Anxiety, Why?

A Feeling Many of Us Still Don’t Understand

General, social, even obsessive compulsive—of all things our brains could’ve created, of all things we could’ve become.

Anxiety is something I myself have been dealing with since I was about 7-years-old. It started with every little noise I’d hear in the house, so paranoid it was a ghost or somebody breaking in. Granted, watching creepy videos on YouTube didn’t help. Speaking of which, the earliest experience I can recall was exactly when I was 7, not just an estimate to fill information.

My brother had set up a video for me to watch—it was one of those jump scares. I didn’t realize, however, since all it was at first was a little car driving down the road. Until a screaming, deathly looking woman appeared on scream. My heart sped up, but I laughed as if nothing was wrong. Then, I spent the whole night with an irrational fear she was out to get me.

Then it began throughout my elementary and middle school years. I’d do something mildly regrettable, but then it would haunt me for days. I would get this sick feeling in my stomach, this fear of some consistence that didn’t exist. It could’ve been something as simple making a prank call or eating one more cookie than I was allowed. The only way I could get rid of it then was to leave my mother letters and ask her not to bring it up. But as long as I knew that she knew, I was okay.

When I entered middle school and high school, it didn’t get any easier. I can’t recall much anxiety from sixth to eighth grade, except for horrible anxiety in my sixth grade classes because I wanted to be at home, instead. My parents did what they could, offering me a cell phone to message just the two of them when I felt scared or even a picture of my dog to carry around.

Fast forward to my senior year in high school, I met a man who had quite the history. His ex girlfriend was out to get me, and he was soon joining the military.

Everything was decent, until he left. I was having issues with separation anxiety and convincing myself he was still out there.

But the most irrational my anxiety has ever been was when I started my new job. Being sexually active for the first few times as a woman, most of the time always ends in fear of being pregnant—even if you were safe. While at work, I’d gotten the idea in my head. I grew hot, shaky, dizzy, my chest and stomach hurt. I almost threw up in the staff bathroom and I was so, so convinced...

And yet, I was on my period.

To my knowledge, before humans really had anything to worry about—rather, when they had actual predators to worry about—anxiety was more of that “Fight of Flight” instinct. Where they either ran, froze, or fought. As technology and our modern way of living continued to develop, we became our own predators.

Anxiety is something that isn’t easily compatible. Breathing can help, attempting to focus on something else can as well. But other times, it genuinely feels there is no escape. You sit and wonder why you’re so worried, so afraid and it isn’t easy to turn around. Medication is also an option, but even that doesn’t always work either. At least, for some. The temptation to scream, cry and just- run away is so strong.

It’s a feeling I myself will never understand. When someone tells me just to forget, it makes it worse. How? How do I forget? How can I erase these memories? How can I convince myself there are no consequences to things that are long gone now.

My heart doesn’t deserve to pound, my head doesn’t deserve to spin. I don’t deserve this pain.

If you’re anything like me, I’m sure it’s hard for you as well. But one thing that helps me is knowing I’m not the only one out there. I’m not the only one out there who has these fears.