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An Explanation of Anxiety

An Explanation of Anxiety

By: Ashley Wilkins

The word anxiety is thrown around so casually.  The girl who claims she has so much anxiety about her test and then mockingly pretends to have shaking hands to her friends.  The boy who claims he has anxiety before a big game though in honesty, he is just saying that to get attention. The anxiety word is tossed around careless as if it is not serious, as if it has no real meaning.  Except for people that truly suffer from anxiety, this word is a max prison sentence.  And many days, release seems like it will never occur. 

In the most simple explanation, anxiety is the permanent mindset of overthinking.  It’s like your brain constantly being wired on coffee that has turbo shots.  It’s one what if leading to another to another to another to another- a train that seemingly has no end.  It’s like a flip that has been switched, and know your brain does not know how to slow down.  It does not know how to stop thinking to stop jumping to conclusions and predicting.  

Anxiety is also a constant self-doubt.  What if I am not good enough?  What if this does no work?  What if they hate my idea?  What if they chose my idea and then it doesn’t work?  What if someone else’s idea would have been better?  These questions replay over and over again for every single decision.  Decisions as simple as picking a movie to leading a play to picking a route to the beach to organizing a service to day, etc.  Anxiety is always questioning whether the other option would be better. 

Anxiety can cause anxiety attacks.  While most people desperately try to hide their anxiety, sometimes the world becomes too much.  The brain is completely overloaded with worry and stress, and it just can’t handle it.  This is when the full body shaking, the trouble breathing leading to hyperventilation, and the tears that cascade down like a waterfall occur. This is not something that people with anxiety want; it’s painful, it’s humiliating, and it’s traumatizing.  These attacks are not just a cry for attention or a dramatic act but rather a sign that someone has been strong for too long.  

It is truly amazing how many people suffer from anxiety.  Yet so many people manage to hide it, and few around them realize they have it.  When it appears, it shows as indecisiveness, procrastination (due to fear), excessive worry, and as a people-pleasing attitude. Anxiety is not something you can just tell someone to snap out of.  People can’t just tell their brains to stop thinking, to stop doubting themselves; it does not work that way. You would not tell someone with a broken leg to get over themselves and just walk on it.  Anxiety is a serious mental illness.  It’s important that people respect that.  It’s important as individuals that we give support to those that are struggling.  And to those of you with anxiety, you are not alone.  Trust me, I understand the daily battle you have just try and live a normal life.  I am in this fight with you.