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It's All a Domino Effect: How My Anxiety Leads to Other Things

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Editor’s note: This post contains language about self-harm and suicidal thoughts. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Anxiety. It rules my everyday life. I can’t escape the hands of anxiety. It makes sure to make its presence known every second of every day. With my heart beating fast, hands clenching tightly, and mouth as dry as cotton balls, I sit and wait with anxiety as my wingman. No matter what the situation, anxiety is there to help me fall faster.

anx·i·e·ty (aNGˈzīədē) [noun] – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

It’s not like anxiety can be turned on or off. I have no control of how anxiety will trigger my actions or emotions. Anxiety is a mental illness of the mind. The overwhelming, mind-numbing worry that consumes the brain is heart-pounding, breath-taking, ground-shaking in all the wrong ways.

“Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior.”

Anxiety is a barrier I must overcome. Not only does it limit my social ability to communicate but it destroys my connections with other peers and my friends and family. It’s also not like I’m afraid of just one thing in particular. I’m not afraid at all in total honesty. It’s the worry that drags me down. I worry unnecessarily about little things such as paying bills (which I don’t need to worry about because I can’t contribute to paying the bills, which worries me about trying to find a job and help my family) or presenting a project to my class (which is just pointless to worry about because if I want the grade, I have to present). I worry about things I have no control over, things such as global warming, the end of the world, racism, sexism, riots, protests, etc. Because of anxiety, I’ve missed out on opportunities I’ll never get the chance to have again. Anxiety has pulled me away from events and other things I’d love to have participated in, but I worried so much about such things that I talked myself out of participating.  

wor·ry (ˈwərē) [verb] – give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. 

Along with my anxiety came depression and insomnia, as well as an anti-social personality. Depression can happen from an overwhelming amount of stress or anxiety that wears people down and makes them dejected about most things. Insomnia happened because not only was I worrying extremely during the day about everything, but at night, my mind would kick into overdrive and start thinking about all the little things I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done or how I could have made a choice in a better way. I’ll plan out my day for tomorrow in my head. I’ll think about every step of the day, how to not mess up or find embarrassment, and I’ll retrace my steps a thousand times to make sure there’s no way I could make a mistake in my planning.  

De·pres·sion (di-ˈpre-shən, dē-) [noun] – a state of feeling sad; a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way.

Along with depression came mental and physical scars. Mentally because I had completely ruined my mental state. Obliterated it. My mind doesn’t function the same way it did before nor does it function the same way as yours. Physically because my mind leads me to think certain things were acceptable to do to my body because I thought I wasn’t right. I thought I was messed up. Broken. Unrepairable. Beyond acceptable. With the mental scarring and my physical being had been worn down, came suicidal thoughts.  

“Suicidal thoughts are thoughts about how to kill oneself, which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing oneself.”  

It’s not like I wanted to think about how I would kill myself or why I should kill myself. It wasn’t healthy, and I knew it wasn’t healthy but my mind told me I was OK. This was what I deserved and I needed to go through this. Not everyone who has suicidal thoughts attempts suicide. I was 15 the first time I tried to kill myself.  

sui·cide (ˈsü-ə-ˌsīd) [noun] – the act of killing yourself because you do not want to continue living.  

Anxiety, depression, insomnia, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, attempting suicide… the list goes on and on. It was a domino effect for me. But that doesn’t mean we can’t bounce back from a negative thing. You can always rebound, make it better. Instead of letting it drain you and take your energy, you look it straight in the face and give it the middle finger while walking away, showing your confidence in yourself and saying you can do this because you can.  

re·cov·er (riˈkəvər) [verb] – return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.  

And yes, there may be hardships and difficulties that you must face, but it is so worth it. Nothing is ever worth you giving up on life. People care, whether you think so or not. You will be missed. You may relapse back into your negative habits, I know I have, but you can always come back from that. And you know what, screw those people who say you can’t come back from it. You can. I did, you can, so can everybody else. You want to stop self-harming and be a more positive person, you can. You want to stop drinking alcohol to avoid problems, you can. It’s not easy, but you can.

re·lapse (ˈrēˌlaps) [noun] – a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement.

I have been through so much crap in my life ranging from drug use, underage drinking, underage smoking, sexual assault, rape, abuse, neglect, and even more, yet here I am, drinking water and studying for an AP test and singing songs with my best friend. Anxiety and depression and insomnia will always be a part of my life, I know that and I know I can’t be rid of them, but I also know I can’t let them control me. I have to overcome them to find the true me. Where I can find and be the real me is when I’ll be at my happiest. So if I can overcome my difficulties and hardships, can’t you? Anyone is capable of anything. All you have to do is try. 

be·lieve (bəˈlēv) [verb] – accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.

I believe in you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Originally published: October 19, 2016
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