Lifestyle

Dear Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

It’s not you, it’s me. I lied, it’s you. You have been in my life now for years and it’s been a it a rollercoaster. You mess with my head so much so that I have had to seek out treatment just to cope. Yes we have had our laughs and you have taught me the difference between normal stress and not so normal stress, but it is time for you to go. You have done more bad than good. You make me cry when there is nothing to cry about, you don’t let me sleep until all the thoughts in my head are gone, and sometimes you won’t even let me out of bed. I have had enough and would like you to leave.

If only it was that easy…

Sincerely,

Your prisoner

Does this sound like you? Trapped with your anxiety? You may feel like there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, or that you are the only one going through this. Don’t worry, you’re not. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)  is the most common form of anxiety out there. It is when you do not just feel anxious over one thing, but feel anxious over everything all day, big and small. It is something I personally struggle with.

I was in my junior year of fashion school before I realized that something was wrong. I had never been a straight A student, but never did worse than one or two C’s until I got to college. I had almost all C’s my first year and thought that it just had to do with the difference between high school and college. Unfortunately I was wrong.

As the years went by,I didn’t get any better. That’s when I chose to get tested for a potential learning disability during spring break of my junior year. Not only did I get diagnosed with an overall learning disability, which meant I struggled in every subject and received extra time needed, I was also diagnosed with GAD, General Anxiety Disorder When I heard this I instantly started crying. Why? I honestly don’t even know.

Although I was upset at first, I received the help I needed and finally got my schooling back on track. I received a 3.5 GPA my senior year and made the dean’s list.  Unfortunately, it did not help my overall GPA and I really wish that I had spoken up sooner. However, I am glad I spoke up at all because I would have more problems today and would not have made it into the graduate school in LIM College’s Fashion Marketing program.

While having GAD I have learned that textbooks label it as a mental disorder. This sounds scary, but it really is not. It just allows you to receive the help that you need when applying for jobs or even complete the Graduate Record Exam. It is not a genetic disorder, but if a family member suffers from anxiety then their actions can be received by others and cause them anxiety. GAD also does not choose a gender. Both men and women can have anxiety, although it is more common among women. GAD also does not choose an age, although it does heavily affect those between the ages of 18- 25 and 40-50.

Since GAD is so common, you could be sitting next to a person who suffers just like you and never know it. I have met many people in my life that are just like myself and the majority of them happened to be in the fashion industry. This industry is no doubt a very stressful one, especially for break-out designers. I started taking anxiety medication during my first internship and discovered that two other girls were also taking medication. We bonded over this and helped keep each other calm in stressful situations. I have found that the best way to cope is to remove yourself from the situation and take deep breaths. Although anxiety has caused some major changes in my life, I wouldn’t change it. It is what makes me who I am today.

If you think that you may suffer from anxiety, I suggest you reach out to your doctor. Yes, it may be nothing. You may not need to take medication or see a therapist, or it may end up being something more and it doesn’t hurt to talk to someone about it. But if you find yourself struggling with anxiety, it’s worth looking into the resources your college has to offer. Many schools have Health & Wellness offices with more information as well as counselors you can schedule a session with. Anxiety is nothing to be embarrassed about, and shouldn’t hinder your willingness to utilize university resources. Just know that anxiety is normal and makes you who you are today.

 

*UPDATE

Since this originally was posted on HERCampus back in 2016 I have had major changes in my life, both physically and mentally.  I am still on my medication, which I do not see changing any time soon, but I finally went to therapy for a few months and was really able to make some progress.  Although I have stopped due to moving back to Hoboken, NJ from Central CT, the breathing techniques have helped calm me down in certain situations.  The recent death of Fashion Designer Kate Spade and Food Critic Anthony Bourdain prove how detrimental an anxiety disorder can be.  If you are an outsider I strongly urge you to not say “let it go” or “get over it”.  These are some of the worst things that can be sed to someone struggling with this mental disorder.  Personally my own parents will sometimes do this and I have no problem expressing to them that they are not helping the situation.  All anyone ever wants you to do is listen.  You don’t have to say anything or “try to help” because lets face it you just aren’t.  Listening and letting us vent is enough, I promise.

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