Being an adult means being able to make important decisions and understanding the immediate or eventual consequences that may follow. At 22, I am learning that almost everything I do will have a significant effect on me.
This morning, I woke up sweating, with my heart racing at the speed of light. I was nervous about checking my phone and e-mail today.
Today was the day I would find out whether or not my roommates and I were approved for our new place. The good news is, we found a place relatively priced and remotely close to campus. The bad news is, the realtor ended up giving the place to someone who offered to pay higher rent and sign a longer lease.
Now, I do realize that there still is a decent amount of time to find a new place, however, I need to be out of my current place by the end of July, as the owners are moving to San Antonio. At this point, we have no idea what the fuck we’re going to to do, but I am currently searching the hell out of Zillow and Craigslist. I’ve come across some nice places so far, so we’re not completely shit out of luck. Plus, my parents said they’d pay for me to live in one of the upperclass dorms on campus if all else fails.
Living with anxiety is a constant struggle, especially with all of the tragedies that have recently taken place across the nation. When you think about it, there are so many possible situations that can occur, many of which, I often never take into consideration. For example, someone can open fire in any public place at any given moment, and that terrifies me. There is also the possibility of me messing up a task at work and losing my job.
I also have this strange fear that if I don’t talk to my friends enough, they’ll think I don’t care about them, but if I talk to them too much, they’ll think I’m annoying.
What I think people need to understand about anxiety is that it’s not a quirky trait that you can post about on Tumblr or Twitter as a means of making yourself appear more interesting. It’s something that controls your entire life.
For example, when I leave home for work in the morning, I sometimes have to go back home two or three times to make sure that the oven’s off, the iron’s unplugged, and the water’s not running. I also never leave the house without my phone being fully charged, for the fear that I may end up getting lost or stranded somewhere and need to phone a friend.
If I’m going to someone’s place for a “Tinder appointment”, I usually text a friend letting them know where I’m going to be. I give them instructions such as “If I text you saying ‘pick up milk from the grocery store’, call me five minutes later pretending to be distraught and say that you need me.”
Yes, I realize that some of my habits are rather bizarre, and that the likelihood of some of the scenarios I imagine occurring is slim, but this is exactly what living with anxiety entails.
I have, however, found ways to combat my anxiety. If I start my day off by running and showering, I find that I am fairly calm and rested throughout the course of the day. I also have been trying to cut back on caffeinated beverages and energy drinks, and that has helped a lot.
In my iPhone’s camera roll, I have a .gif image that shows an octagon unfolding, with the instructions to breath in sync with the unfolding of the octagon. Whenever I’m having a stressful day, I open up said .gif on my phone and follow the instructions. Doing this provides temporary comfort and relief.
Living with anxiety is not easy, especially at 22, when you’re expected to make huge decisions. I am not suggesting that my methods of getting through the day will work for everyone, nor am I implying that everyone with anxiety has that same habits as I. However, I hope that by sharing my struggles, I am able to help others realize that they are not alone. I also hope that others feel open to discuss the problems they face on a daily basis and how they manage to combat those.