Personal anxiety story: managing your anxiety through college
By FINNLEY GOFF
I have had people ask me how I get over anxiety when I need to—what I mean by this is how I can sometimes push past things without letting them overwhelm me. Let me begin with some background: I’ve had the symptoms of generalized anxiety ever since I could talk. My mother had anxiety also and quickly noticed my similar symptoms. I wasn’t raised in an environment in which mental health was ignored. I was raised by a mother who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and treated it with medication for multiple years.
Here’s my secret: I don’t, not really. You can push emotions off to the side but they’re not going to just disappear because you ignore them. Sometimes, you can push through them if you’re sure enough of what the root of the problem is. You don’t “get over” anxiety; instead, you push through the aspects and effects of anxiety on your life.
Most people experience anxiety throughout different periods of their lives. After all, we’re all lost in a sea trying to understand what we’re doing with our lives, and who we want to be as people. It’s perfectly normal for everyone to experience anxiety about academics, working and relationships.
It only becomes a problem when you can’t turn off the anxiety when everything is fine.
Clinical anxiety isn’t about feeling nervous before a test. It’s about always feeling that something is wrong, even when it’s not.
When I’m feeling like this, I end up lying on the floor under my bed feeling sad and out of control. This has happened to me a handful of times during my time here at Mary Washington. It’s a bit embarrassing, but it’s important to be honest about stuff like this.
Whenever I reach this point, I take a hot shower to let myself relax a little. The shower is not only warm and comforting, but it’s also a place where you can be alone. Even in resident halls with shared bathrooms, there can be peace found in a long hot shower.
The second thing that I do is to make tea or hot chocolate and watch something that I love, movies from my childhood, YouTubers I’m really into right now, a new Netflix show I’ve been waiting to watch. Put on your headphones and ignore everything for at least fifteen minutes. The problems you have been thinking about will be there when you get back.
Sometimes these won’t work. If you’re feeling down, know that there is at least one person out there that is happy to help you. With parents, siblings, significant others and friends—there is someone that you can reach out to in this moment. If you need someone, reach out to them. In the end, you will feel so much better if you just send that text or make that call.