17 Things College Professors Need to Know About Students With Anxiety

194
194
0

Being a college student can be stressful enough. Between classes, parties, relationships, extracurriculars and potentially getting used to a new city or state, there’s a lot. Adding anxiety to this list can make the journey extra challenging. While in some ways, colleges are starting to recognize they need to make student mental health a priority, we still have a long way to go.

With a new school year coming up, we asked The Mighty’s mental health community to tell us one thing they wish college professors knew about students with anxiety. Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Must going to class causes anxiety because of the fear of having to speak, of having to interact with other students, the pressure to perform. It is all so daunting and totally immobilizes you. So, it would be great if there was that understanding, an awareness of the strength it takes just to sit in that chair.” — Kristian H.

2. “When I don’t speak in class it doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s happening, I’m just too scared of people and the professor judging me.” — Adam M.

3. “Trigger warnings aren’t some joke on iFunny, PTSD is a real disorder and trigger warnings in the syllabus can be a lifesaver. Warn us if sexual violence, school shootings, abuse or of any triggering content that will be discussed and when. That way the student can ask the professor what alternative assignments there are.” — Allison R.

4. “I once had a professor tell me after I asked for an extension that they do not give extensions due to ‘poor time management.’ I think professors need to know that students with anxiety are not asking for an extension because they have poor time management, they are asking because even though they know they have enough time, it is still giving them anxiety and panic attacks and your understanding can help them.” — Kimberly J.

5. “I’m not meaning to be rude or disruptive when I come late to class or when I’m distracted during lectures. I may be late, but just making it is a success for me that day after struggling with my mind just to get out of the house. I may be on my phone as a grounding technique so that I don’t have to leave or have an anxiety attack in front of everyone. My anxiety comes out in ways other than crying and shaking (though that happens sometimes too). Please remember, I’m trying and fighting every day — I want to learn.” — Madeline C.

6. “Deadlines are hard for me. Give me time to turn the stuff in. When I say I’m struggling with anxiety and depression and need a little extra time, I’m not making excuses. I’ve been dealing with insomnia, yet med adjustments that make me want to sleep all the time and low motivation. I find it hard to even be around as many people that are in a school… Sometimes it takes me extra time cause I worry it has to be just right or it takes extra time just to get the assignments the way I want. So please don’t give football players extensions and just think I’m full of it.” — Samantha M.

 

7. “Anxiety is one of the biggest reasons I am an exclusively online student. If I have to email about some issue, be understanding that I am working through it and just need a professor to be non-judgmental.” — Lorenza S.

8. “I’m actually a really confident speaker and test-taker, but I make lists during class that can make it look like I’m not listening. Introducing a big assignment without warning me can make me have a panic attack. So when I come to you with my accommodation plan, please listen to what I say I need, not to what you assume I need.” –Breanna H.

9. “I have anxiety, a diagnosed mental illness that renders me incapable of leaving my home much of the time. Get out of my comfort zone? My entire life is outside of my comfort zone.” — Amber W.

10. “When I’m looking around the room during a test, I’m not trying to cheat, I’m just calming my nerves because if I keep looking at the test my anxiety goes haywire and I can’t focus on the test.” — Veronica H.

11. “My accommodations are required, not recommended. They are there because I know the material, I just need it presented differently. I really do need my exams given with only one question on a page or I get overwhelmed and can’t calm down enough to access the information in my brain. If I don’t get my accommodations, the best way to describe it is that when you give me my exam, you are simultaneously taking all the knowledge for the exam out of my brain.” — Annalise S.

12. “My anxiety doesn’t define me or my ability to learn and get things done. Instead, it motivates me and pushes me to work harder.” — Mandi D.

13. It is almost impossible to get to early classes because I stayed up most of the night having anxiety over a different project.” — Colleen M. 

14. “I’m not looking for pity. I’m just asking for a little understanding and compassion.” — Laura M.

15. “If I ask a lot of questions about an assignment, it is not because I am incompetent, it is because I am so afraid of doing something wrong.” — Adrianna W.

16. “I’m not a slacker.” — Vanessa M.

17.  “I am honestly trying my best.” — Kimberly S.

What would you add?

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

194
194
0

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
, Listicle
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Ink sketch of a girl in glasses

20 Things I Wish People Understood About My Anxiety

2k
2k
1

Why can’t you just relax?

Why do you always have to take things the wrong way?

Why do you let things bother you?

What’s the big deal?

I am not sure about you, but people toss those questions at me as if they were confetti. Almost as if they truly believe I can control what is going on in my body. Like I can just shut the switch off in any given situation, smile and be OK. I will be the first to tell you, sorry, but I cannot.

I struggle with anxiety, big time. A lot of it stems from my chronic illness. Many things that would never bother other people, bother me to a great extent. In reality, we all have anxiety at one point or another. We are humans, it happens. Sometimes however, my anxiety just will not shut off. For me, anxiety has kept me from doing things others can do in the blink of an eye. I cannot speak in public without breaking into a rash. I cannot go to the counter and order my own food, without breaking into a rash. I cannot drive on the highway without having an anxiety attack. I cannot take jokes about me without getting offended. I cannot express myself talking face to face without crying. I cannot talk on the phone without stuttering and stumbling. I try to stay away from social gatherings and invites so I do not have to run 10 million “what-if” thoughts through my mind.

Anxiety is a b*tch. That is the simplest way to put it.  It is one of the most familiar illnesses in the US, yet many just do not understand it. The best thing for someone with anxiety is to have a huge support system. The best support systems are often made up of our significant others, family and friends. However, sometimes, they are not there. Sometimes they just do not truly understand what it is going on with you. There are so many things I wish I could say to those in my life to help them better understand me. Obviously, I struggle with doing so.

Here are 20 things I wish others knew about my anxiety:

1. I never know when my anxiety will attack. I may go from laughing to yelling, all in the matter of a few seconds. When this happens, I need you to just wait it out.

2. I cannot just stop worrying. I do not worry just for fun.

3. I feel like a failure. When anxiety keeps me from doing the simplest task, I feel like I have let you down. So I tend to
avoid situations where I may feel even more like a failure.

4. I celebrate simple accomplishments. My small victories may seem silly to you, but to me, it feels like I just conquered the world.

5. Even if there is nothing terrible happening, I still find myself in a state of worry.

6. I am more than just this monster inside of me.

7. I don’t need you to fix me. I appreciate you trying, but I don’t need to be fixed. I just need love and support.

8. I’m not weak. I’m a work in progress. Every day I try my hardest to become stronger.

9. I am not antisocial and I am not blowing you off. Phone calls, voicemails and get togethers scare me. 

10. Try to be patient with me. I am trying. I am trying my hardest.

11. Sometimes I am quiet because I have a lot going on in my head. Stop asking me what is wrong and don’t assume I am mad, bored, tired or whatever else you may think.

12. I cannot just turn off my anxiety. I know you do not get it, but please try to understand.

13. Most times I do not even know why I am anxious.

14. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all those times I have lost my cool, said things I didn’t mean. I’m also sorry for all those times that are still yet to come.

15. My brain does not just shut off, and it is exhausting.

16. If I am not comfortable doing something, please do not force me to do it. Let it go.

17. I have trouble making decisions. I’m a perfectionist and I just want everything to be perfect.

18. Never stop inviting me to things. I may decline 99 percent of them, but it is nice to still feel loved and wanted. And one of those days my anxiety may be at a low and my answer may surprise you.

19. When I say I cannot handle something or take on more, please understand I truly cannot.

20. I hold onto and replay every single word, conversation and anxiety attack I had and will obsess about it for years. 

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via berdsigns.

2k
2k
1

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
, Contributor list
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
young woman at desk with back pain

How to Cope With the Physical Effects of Anxiety

565
565
1

I just got back from my second remedial massage in as many weeks, and apparently, I’ll be going back for more over the next few as well.

Why?

The amount of tension that has built up in my muscles because of my anxiety has become so bad that there are layers upon layers that need to be broken up. During my massages, the masseuse uses infrared light to try and break up some of the tension, in addition to a heat pack and physio cream. In between these professional massages, I need to use a heat pack on my back, neck and shoulders every day and Physio cream three times a day.

Let me tell you; it hurts.

If you also struggle with social anxiety, or any kind of anxiety, this kind of physical effect of your mental illness won’t sound particularly unusual.

I’ve known for some time now that my anxiety was causing physical results, but haven’t done much to actively manage it. I’ve been getting stress migraines for years, and while I’m sleeping, I have a habit of clenching my jaws together and grinding my teeth. The teeth grinding has become so bad I now have to wear a mouth guard when I sleep to stop me causing further damage to my teeth — the bottoms are all jagged from the grinding.

And that’s not even including the day-to-day effects I experience, which include dry mouth, excessive sweating and fatigue.

I’ve been on my anxiety medication for some time now, and I think because it has masked how much I feel the severity of my anxiety, I haven’t actively been doing much to address the issue. As a result, it has built up in other, more physical ways.

I think I’ve learned my lesson now though, and have started to do some research into ways to help reduce the physical effects of my anxiety and put a plan in place to make sure it doesn’t get this bad again.

These are some of the best strategies I’ve discovered for managing the effects of my physical anxiety:

1. Physical exercise

We all know the endorphins you get from exercising make you feel better, but if you’re not up for a full-on cardio session, even low-impact exercises will help you minimize the physical effects of anxiety (Saeed, Sy Atezaz, Diana J. Antonacci, and Richard M. Bloch. “Exercise, yoga, and meditation for depressive and anxiety disorders.” American family physician 81.8 2010). You could try yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, going for a walk around the block, aqua aerobics or even a bounce class (it’s hard not to feel some joy when bouncing on a trampoline, and the laughter will help relax your muscles).

My masseuse also gave me some exercises to do regularly in order to stretch the muscles and release the tension from my neck, back and shoulders. The ones I’ve found help me most are: turning my head from side to side; trying to touch my shoulder with my ear; stretching both hands (held together) above my head and looking up; and standing with both arms outstretched to the side and moving both hands in small, backward circles.

2. Relaxation techniques

I’ve never really believed that relaxation techniques have a huge effect on you physically, but according to WebMD, “Practiced regularly, relaxation techniques can counteract the debilitating effects of stress.”

Some of the most popular and recommended relaxation techniques for people living with anxiety include:

– mindfulness exercises (e.g. coloring in) and meditation
– writing lists
– bubble baths, or baths using magnesium flakes
– using physio cream (good for relaxing your muscles)
– listening to classical music
– massages
– scents and essential oils such as lavender
– deep breathing
– using heat packs or physio cream on sore muscles.

These are all strategies you can work into your daily schedule and, if you do them often enough, will have a positive effect on your physical health.

3. Experiment with alternative therapies

Before my next massage, my masseuse wants me to do a 30-minute session with an infrared blanket on my back. Apparently, this will help to loosen my muscles so when I get to her, she will actually be able to give me a massage without “pummeling” me (her words).

I haven’t tried anything like this before, but I’m willing to give it a shot. If it works, I might even think about buying one myself or doing this regularly, as apparently infrared blankets are also good for sweating out toxins, improved circulation, skin purification and helping you lose weight (Dr Amy Myers, MindBodyGreen).

Another alternative relaxation therapy I’ve wanted to try since I saw “Stranger Things” and found out it was an actual thing, is floatation therapy. Floatation therapy, also known as “sensory deprivation,” is where you lie in water so saturated with Epsom salt that you float. This activity has been proven as an effective way of easing anxiety, and although I’m a little nervous to try it, all the reviews I’ve read have said it has helped ease physical pain as well as mental health conditions like anxiety.

4. Talk to a professional

While I know regularly exercising and relaxing will help reduce the physical symptoms of my anxiety, I also need to acknowledge that for me, it’s important to touch base with a mental health care professional. In the past, my therapist has helped me with practical strategies that have helped me learn to recognize my triggers and better manage both the mental and physical effects of my anxiety.

I think I’m at the stage where going back to therapy will be a way of keeping myself accountable and ensuring I keep up with the habits and strategies I know will help me long-term.

I think the most critical lesson I’ve learned from this experience is that my anxiety isn’t going to go away — it’s here for life — and even though I might feel fine for a while, it’s important to keep doing the things that help manage it, so it doesn’t build up until the point of such physical pain. Staying healthy is a daily commitment. Ignoring the problem is only going to make it worse.

As with any problem, the longer you wait to do something about the physical effects of your anxiety, the harder it will be to rectify, and the longer your road to recovery.

To learn more about the physical effects of anxiety on your body, you might find reading “Anxiety and Exhaustion: Wired and Tired” and “Anxiety in the Body: Physical Side Effects of Anxiety,” two blogs written by Tanya J. Peterson (MS, NCC).

Follow this journey on emmaclairebell.com

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via fizkes

565
565
1

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
, Contributor list
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
man trying to comfort woman

When My Boyfriend Saw Me Having a Panic Attack for the First Time

134
134
0

When I first started dating my boyfriend, I disclosed to him both of my chronic illnesses, Crohn’s disease and bipolar disorder. I have incredibly low self-esteem and felt like nobody would ever love me. I thought that those who would date me would inevitably leave at the first sign of my anxious tendencies since I can be emotionally draining.

I have been with my boyfriend for three years and have been living with him for one. Last week, he witnessed one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had. He’s always been supportive, but usually my anxiety seems likes nonsense since I worry about the most minute things. This time however, I wasn’t thinking about anything specific and out of nowhere, my body decided to enter fight or flight mode.

I was laying on the couch watching a movie with my two kittens and my boyfriend when suddenly, my throat and chest began to tighten up. My nose had been itchy that day (I’m possibly allergic to our cats). I thought that perhaps I was having some allergy symptoms, so my boyfriend grabbed me some allergy medication. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was, in fact, the beginning of a panic attack. I began to panic the more I focused on what seemed to be a closing throat and stood up to walk around and take some deep breaths. My heart started to race. My boyfriend told me I looked very pale and both of my legs began to shake uncontrollably.

As the look of fear became readily apparent on my face, he came to my side and began rubbing my back and telling me everything is and would be OK. I could clearly see his look of concern and since he’s often difficult to read emotionally, I knew that he must be genuinely worried about me. I try to hide my symptoms as much as possible, but he knows when I start bouncing my legs, get quiet out of nowhere or randomly get into the shower to try to calm myself, I’m panicking about something.

I realized after that episode how lucky I am to have someone by my side that loves me, even if I feel like “damaged goods,” and someone who is not worthy of such an amazing person. There are still times when I ask him why he’s with me because I am so much to deal with emotionally. He always shakes his head and says I’m being ridiculous. He is the only man I’ve been with that I’m not afraid of leaving me because of diseases I can’t control. He’s understanding when I’m too anxious to go to a social gathering, or even if my Crohn’s is acting up and I need to be home near my own bathroom and bed. He may not ever understand what it’s like to feel trapped in your own head, having irrational thoughts that you can’t control or how silly it is that sometimes I can’t even order a pizza over the phone due to my fear of the social interaction. He may get frustrated sometimes and tell me I have more control over it than I think I do, and in turn, it may make me feel weak, even if he’s just trying to help.

For my entire life, I’ve always cringed whenever I got a compliment, but often times, actions speak louder than words with him, and I know how grateful I am to have a partner that truly accepts me for who I am. It was an incredibly stressful and upsetting situation, but I’ve realized that he’s the only person that has ever been able to help me calm down and that really means something.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Design Pics

 

134
134
0

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

10 Ways I'm Affected as a Young Person With Anxiety

332
332
1

Anxiety is extremely difficult to live with. Even the name has such a negative stigma attached to it. People don’t seem to take the diagnosis of “anxiety” seriously — they just assume you’re talking about the feeling you get before taking a test or going on your first date. Anxiety is worse than that. Anxiety is worse than just nervousness and it’s a lot worse than fear. Anxiety can happen without explanation. You can have panic attacks at random and not know why you’re having them. It’s absolutely terrifying. This mental illness is real.

I was diagnosed with anxiety as a very young child. I have always been very fearful and anxious. Throughout my life, I have become more aware of how my anxiety affects me. So, here are 10 things I do because of my anxiety.

1. I overthink everything.

I can get asked a simple question almost everyone knows the answer to. It can be a simple elementary school question that has been programmed into my head since I was a kid. I will still stumble over my answer and second guess myself. A few times. Sometimes, I won’t be able to even give an answer because I am too afraid of being wrong and I doubt myself constantly. I overthink the way people say things. If someone cancels plans for any reason, I automatically jump to the conclusion that they don’t actually want to hang out with me and/or there is something wrong with me.

2. I cry a lot. I mean a lot.

Anxiety itself makes me hypersensitive to almost everything. This means that any emotion can make me cry like a baby. I’m super happy? I cry. I’m really sad? I cry. Angry or frustrated? I. cry. It’s one of the most difficult things about anxiety for me. If someone even comes close to raising their voice or just using a stern tone of voice with me, I start crying. It makes me extremely embarrassed and I wish more than anything I could just tell me tear ducts to cut it out, but unfortunately, they never do seem to listen.

3. I isolate myself from everyone, including my family.

I like to be alone. My room is my comfort zone. I can be me with my thoughts and my feelings and not have to worry about screwing up a social interaction or my parents starting to yell at me for something I forgot to do. Sometimes I will cancel plans because I am too anxious to go. Sometimes I will drive all the way there, decide I can’t do it, turn around and go back home. I don’t do well in social situations and it’s like I can feel the awkwardness and disinterest as soon as I start talking. I can already tell they would much rather shave an elephant’s legs than sit here and listen to me talk. At least, that’s what my anxiety tells me. I don’t come out of my room very much when I am home. I prefer to be in my own space doing my own things. Being around people is just exhausting.

4. I hide my talents.

Although I will probably never admit this out loud, I have a few talents. I am creative and I love to do anything involving art or music. I have been playing piano since I was very little and have been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon. I went to an art school for one year and decided it was just too much for me. I didn’t like my artwork being put on display for everyone to criticize. I knew I wasn’t as good as everyone else. My anxiety had told me that a million times. My friends and family swear I have a good voice and play my instruments very well, but good luck trying to get me to do either in front of anyone. I don’t ever practice my instruments unless I am completely home alone. I don’t advertise that I have any of these talents, because I know plenty of people are way better than me, and I believe nobody cares about what I can or can’t do anyway. Anxiety makes me feel insignificant that way.

5. I stay away from certain places to avoid people I know.

Even when I was applying for jobs, I refused to work at places like the mall of the movies or any food place near a school. I was avoiding people I knew. I won’t go into certain stores by myself because it’s a popular store or I know someone that works there. I avoid people I know all the time, just because I feel awkwardly obligated to be an interesting person around them or I feel like they’re always judging me because they know me. If I need something from an isle in the grocery store and I see someone I know in that isle, I will pass it by and probably won’t even check it later. I will probably just get the rest of what I need or prioritize what I need, then leave without finishing my list to avoid confrontation with that person. I can’t explain why I do it. I just know it’s because of my anxiety.

6. I ask other people to talk for me.

This is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. I have gotten better at it, but I still do this quite a bit. When I am in a restaurant, sometimes I will ask someone else to order for me. I will tell them my drink and my food. I do this especially when the food has a different/weird name. Some restaurants have themes and so all of their food names fit with that theme; I feel weird saying them, so I ask someone else to do it for me. I have been shopping with my boyfriend before and have given him money and asked him to pay for my stuff for me so I didn’t have to talk to the cashier. He does try to convince me to do it myself and assures me he will be right there with me, but sometimes it’s just too much and he has to do it for me. This doesn’t happen too often, but it definitely still makes me pretty anxious.

7. I eat by myself.

I did this all throughout school — I would eat by myself, away from people. In junior high, I would skip lunch sometimes and just eat discretely during class or wait until I got home. In high school, I had a group of friends I ate with for a while but then I started getting more and more anxious about it and I started to eat by myself outside the band room. Eventually, I started eating lunch in classrooms with one other person. Even then, there were times where I couldn’t bring myself to eat. If I am out to eat, I can’t sit where I am facing people at another table. If I can make eye contact with someone who is not at the table I am sitting at, it takes me way longer to eat my food. I prefer to eat by myself.

8.  I assume the worst.

In every situation, there are multiple outcomes. I think of all of them and then focus on the worst one because my anxiety tells me one is most likely to happen. It will be my reality. When waiting for orders from the military to find out if we are moving, I assumed the worst and decided I was going to be leaving all of my friends behind and moving to a different state. In this case, it didn’t end up happening. I am now in that same position again. In social situations, I assume nobody is enjoying talking to me. I assume the group whispering is talking about me. The girl who just laughed behind me? She was definitely laughing at me. Her friend did not tell her a joke. People are judging the way I am walking. They’re judging my hair, my clothes, the way I look 12 when I’m actually 19. No matter what I am doing, someone is there judging me. That’s what my anxiety likes to tell me. I know she’s wrong, but sometimes she can be really convincing.

9. I get hurt really easily.

Having chronic illness, I understand keeping plans can be difficult. I understand having to cancel because you’re in too much pain mentally and/or physically. But when someone cancels on me, I automatically think they just didn’t want to see me in the first place. In these situations, my anxiety tells me I’m disposable. I’m their second choice. A sudden change in tone of voice during a conversation can hurt my feelings as well. I automatically think I have done something wrong and they are upset with me. If people don’t text me back, my anxiety tells me to just leave them alone because they obviously don’t want to talk to me. They’re not busy.

10. I throw away what I write/draw.

If it’s something I did, it will probably end up in the trash. I have tried to keep a journal countless times. They always end up in the trash sooner or later. I can’t stand looking back at what I wrote. I also don’t want anyone else to ever read what I write. This made turning in essays for school extremely difficult on me. I hardly ever proofread things. I never keep things I draw either — I will very rarely keep a drawing of mine. A lot of the time, I only draw when I’m doing it for someone else. If it’s not leaving to go to someone else, it will probably leave in a garbage bag. My anxiety tells me my art isn’t good enough and my writing is awful.

Although my anxiety tells me these things, I do know she’s wrong about me. Anxiety has this nasty habit of letting us believe we are unimportant — we are not worthy of love or friendship, or even a simple conversation. Anxiety is beyond difficult to live with. I am constantly reminding people to be patient with me. I’m constantly at war with myself, and sometimes I lose for the day and that’s OK. I will get back up and fight again tomorrow. I have anxiety, but it will never define me.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Hemera Technologies

332
332
1
TOPICS
, Contributor list
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
friends sneakers in a row

22 Reasons You Might Not Notice Your Friend's Anxiety

519
519
0

We often turn to our friends for a sense of support and community, because as the saying goes, that’s what friends are for. It can be easy to be open with friends about the latest happenings in your life, but sometimes, talking about mental health with the people who “get you” can still be difficult.

People with anxiety might feel like their struggle is a burden to others. Or they may be ashamed to admit they are struggling, for fear they might be seen as more their struggle and less them. But most of the time, friends of someone struggling with anxiety just want to know how they can be supportive.

That is why we asked people in our Mighty mental health community who struggle with anxiety to share the reasons their friends wouldn’t notice they were currently struggling. By looking out for the underlying ways people deal with their anxiety, we can continue to be supportive of our friends no matter what they’re going through.

Here is what they had to say:

1. “The days that I’m at my worst are the days I take time to put on makeup (my ‘war paint’) and make an extra effort to look collected and in control. Those are the days people don’t see me struggling — they only notice my outward appearance and aren’t part of my internal monologue.” — Mary-Catherine M.

2. “I say I’m not feeling well — a headache or stomach ache. When in reality, it’s my anxiety, but it takes less explanation and confusion when I just say I physically don’t feel well.” — Molly C.

3. “I try to hide it with as many jokes as I possibly can. Mostly dark and self-deprecating jokes. I feel like joking and being bubbly keeps me a little more relaxed when facing a group of people.” — John B.

4. “I do my best to hide it so I don’t make them panic. The last thing I need during an anxiety attack is for them to freak out.” — Matt Y.

5. “I mask it with an almost obsessive happy exterior. I act as though I’m fine, laugh at jokes (maybe sometimes ones that aren’t even funny); and I don’t even know why I pretend this way anymore, but I guess it is a habit now. Usually I’m actually feeling lousy and want to be at home in my room away from everything.” — Lily-Rose P.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

6. “I definitely am one to cut people off temporarily just so I don’t have to deal with all of the pity they think I need. I hide my problems pretty well, but I know some people can see through my mask, so I just don’t talk to anyone.” —Lexi S.

7. “I have great grades, a great social life and everything looks ‘perfect’ on paper. No one thinks there’s something wrong when everything appears perfect.” — Brooke B.

8. “I always push myself past my limits and challenge myself in ways someone with this level of anxiety probably shouldn’t. I refuse to let this illness overcome who I am and want to be as a person. So if I’m ever anxious around my friends, I have coping mechanisms I do they wouldn’t notice: like counting to 10 in my head or breathing deeply. I could be having a normal conversation to them, but I could be feeling like I’m ‘dying inside.’ This only happens sometimes, and I am thankful for my friends understanding and supportive nature. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.” — Angeline M.

9. “I grew up with a mother who ‘didn’t believe in mental illness’ and always told me I’m ‘choosing to be miserable.’ So when my anxiety or depression is bad, I tend to put on a brave face. I feel like I have to deal with it by myself because I was raised to believe mental illness isn’t real and I was choosing to feel the way I feel.” — Ally D.

10. “I smile and laugh a lot and I’m very upbeat. But when I’m by myself, the demons come out and I start getting depressed and my anxiety comes on. People think I have anxiety and depression for attention so I try not to show it to others.” — Sidney P.

11. “I only struggle at work. Around my friends, I’m just ‘a bit high strung,’ which they accept me for.” — Sally C.

12. “My main anxiety symptom is a feeling of dread. This cannot be seen from the outside. Inside, I’m in so much mental anguish and I want to do anything to get out of the situation causing anxiety. But on the outside, I can look more or less ‘normal’ and like nothing is wrong.” — Kay C.

13. “I am naturally an extrovert. I also push myself and refuse to let anxiety stand in the way of me achieving my dreams.” — Nikki B.

14. “It somewhat comes off as confidence. I use false pride to get me through anxiety filled situations. I act as if I have everything figured out, but on the inside I am an insecure anxious mess.” — Suzy B.

15. “I’m usually the driver of the group, the one people ask for rides from. They don’t understand that sometimes I need to cancel because of my anxiety and the risks that come with driving while it’s happening.” — Melina A.

16. “I go off the grid. [My friends] won’t hear from me or see me [for] months because my head is a scrambled mess on fast forward and I don’t want them to see me that way or burden them. The longer the time I’m away, the more anxious I get about trying to reach out. They don’t notice because I’m not there.” — Brittany H.

17. “When I’m out with them and I get anxious, I flip between talking a lot or getting completely silent (depending on the situation). When riding in a car I usually talk a lot. When I’m out on the town, I usually shut up and try to find some way to take my mind off of things or escape entirely.” — Susan T.

18. “I put on a mask like no other and I go about my day, even though I could actually be on the verge of throwing my guts up because I’m panicking so bad. People have made me feel invalid for having something I can’t control, so I no longer show it unless they actually care and prove it.” — Hollie D.

19. “It’s not that they don’t notice, it’s just commonplace now — it’s become the norm. My best friend even compared me to the white rabbit from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ because I’m always in a hurry to leave because of one anxious trigger or another.” — Mary D.

20. “I space out a lot. Most times it’s because I’m daydreaming. I’m a daydreamer at heart, but other times it’s because I’m trying to get myself back in focus on what I’m doing. I just space out for a few minutes.” — Kari G.

21. “I have the ability to not just put my anxiety on the back burner, but to focus all of my energy on helping my friends instead. I choose to see the positive in every situation, no matter how anxious it makes me. [My] meds also keep me somewhat leveled.” — Melody A.

22. “I ramble. I find something to talk about and just go with it. I’m agreeable so they just think I’m easygoing rather than trying to be a people pleaser and not wanting anyone mad at me because I’m afraid they’ll disappear from my life.” — Jennifer N.

Can you relate?

519
519
0

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
, Listicle
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Real People. Real Stories.

8,000
CONTRIBUTORS
150 Million
READERS

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.