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What a Grade 10 Writing Assignment Taught Me About My Anxiety

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I’ve always been a highly anxious person. My memories from both elementary and high school consist of social anxiety and many moments of panic over mundane things. Just the thought of standing up in front of the class made my palms sweat and I’d do anything to avoid it.

When it came to essays, stories or any other writing assignments for that matter, I poured my heart into them. Words came easily to me and took me to my happy place. Reading was my second love. I could only dream that one day I’d be an author to fulfill both passions.

In grade 10 English class, I put together a project on one of my favorite books: “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold. I wrote a poem, arranged images as well as songs I felt represented the story. Feeling very proud to share my work with that class, I made my way to the front and froze. With my voice shaking, tears in my eyes and hands trembling, I still managed to finish but I’m sure the presentation didn’t do it much justice.

This behavior has made its way into my adulthood in many different forms, and I do my best daily to combat it. Recently I read that socially awkward people tend to be more loyal in their relationships, so my loved ones can rest assured. Overthinking, incessantly worrying and episodes of panic are part of my everyday life, but I will not let them define me. I navigate life like I did in the classroom; going up in front of everyone and doing what I need to, regardless of my feelings.

Writing gives me the ability to speak without my voice shaking or hands trembling. It helps me say exactly what I want to with confidence and dignity. On tough days, I vent about life’s hardships and it’s my therapeutic outlet. Likewise, I write about all of the things that make life beautiful. Life is sometimes really hard. Anxiety is like a little cartoon devil on my shoulder, trying to convince me I’m unworthy. I will keep shaking him off and pushing forward because I have so much to live for.

No matter what kind of day I have, I can count on writing to lift me up. I hope everyone can find that in something they love too.

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Thinkstock photo via AntonioGuillem

Originally published: June 27, 2017
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