During my freshman year of college, I learned that I had social anxiety. It was something I didn’t really know how to cope with, so I ignored it. Throughout the next three years, I battled (and continued to ignore treating) that anxiety in many different ways.
As a writer, I love writing about everything about me, the world, who I love, what I love, where I am, Nebraska, and film. Unfortunately, I have always struggled to write about my anxiety. I don’t have the right words. I don’t know what I want to say about it.
I feel like I want to convey the way my cheeks burn if a teacher calls on me in class, or how I can’t catch my breath if they expect me to speak. I want to let people know the I sweat and shake and have cold flashes. My nerves take over and I feel trapped inside a body I can no longer control. It’s terrifying.
My words are always stronger written rather than spoken. My voice quivers, and I hate that that’s a sign of weakness. I hate that I get overwhelmed in large groups. I hate that people tell me I’m too quiet and I’m not social enough. I hate that I used to be extroverted and carefree, and now I’m 21 and stuck in my own shell.
I never write about it, because I don’t want anyone to find it. I don’t want people to know that I am as anxious as I am. Sleeping and eating aren’t priorities, but perfecting my work and writing is. I don’t ask for help, because I don’t want to seem needy. I want to feel in control of something, because too often, I don’t even feel in control of myself.
That’s my anxiety. In broad terms. It’s as much as I can do today.