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What It's Like to Have Generalised Anxiety Disorder
It’s on the way home when you suddenly realise that you need to be home NOW and you have no idea why. It’s when you’re lying in bed at night and you suddenly think that everyone you know is in danger and you need to check that they’re okay but you don’t want to annoy them. It’s the constant creeping feeling in the back of your mind that something is very wrong but you can’t quite pin-point what exactly It is but you know that no matter what you do there’s always going to be this feeling in your chest that doesn’t quite sit right and never well.
Is that bus full? What if I can’t get on and then I’m late? I mean I’m only going home but people expect me there at a certain time so what if they worry? I hope they don’t worry about me. Wait, what If people worry about me? Can they tell that I’m worrying about them? Okay the bus is here get on the bus.
“Hi, I’ll have a daysaver please”
Was it £2.90 last time I got on the bus? I hope I have the right change, wait what If I don’t have the right change, I better check.
Yere this seems right, this is right, okay he’s looking at you strangely give him the money.
“I think that’s right”
Okay just take the ticket, he hasn’t asked for any more this must be right. Just take the ticket.
I shuffle onto the crowded bus, quickly scan the scene and see that no one I know is on, with a sigh of relief, I put a headphone in.
Soft vibrations come from my back pocket along with a cheery ‘ping’ noise.
Wait was that my phone, I better check, but what if it’s not my phone and I look stupid. Just check it, you’re being ridiculous.
The bright screen reads ‘You have a new Snapchat!’.
Don’t open it straight away, everyone knows that you should wait a few minutes before opening it. But what if it’s something really important? What if someone needs my help with something? Or what if someone doesn’t need my help… like at all? Just open it you’re being stupid.
Opening the snapchat I put my thumb on the small red square and hold it down.
‘Hey someone talk?’ the picture of an almost-stranger appears behind the words, complete with a cute emoticon to demonstrate how bored they are.
Oh it’s okay, see it’s okay someone just sent that to everyone. Wait does that mean that people only want to talk to you when they’re bored, do people just see you as something to fill their time? Reply something quick so they don’t think you’re avoiding them.
Oh god that was so stupid, who even says ‘haha’ when they’re not being really pretentious? I’m sure they don’t even want to talk to you anyway, who would want to talk to you after you said something like that? They’ve read it? Already? Are they going to reply, of course they’re not going to reply, they didn’t even mean you, they probably just clicked on your name by accident.
‘Hey how you doing? Haven’t spoken in ages!’
What’s that supposed to mean?! Right, you need to get over yourself, just leave it, just don’t say anything to them, they’ll probably forget about in an hour. Just ignore it, this is causing you way too much anxiety, put the phone away.
But what if they hate me?
Fight or Flight
“Oh and can you stay back after class, I’d like a word”
The blood rushes from my arms and legs and little black spots appear across my vision. I can’t get enough air in, I suddenly need way more oxygen than I did a few seconds ago. My hands, feet and nose are cold, pins and needles rush down my leg and I can’t stand up without wincing. Stumbling to my feet I walk to her desk, I must look visibly panicked because she has a sympathetic smile on her face.
She thinks that I’m awful and that I’ve failed everything, she thinks I’m pathetic and that’s how I’m going to leave her class, with her forever remembering my pathetic face. Wait I need this class, what If I can’t get into university, oh god I’m never going to go to university how am I going to tell my parents? Wait, my parents! How am I going to tell them that I’ve gotten kicked out of the class, what if they hate me? What if I have to move out? Where am I going to stay? Oh god she’s going to talk this is it my life is over…
“Don’t look so worried! You left your planner here yesterday, I thought you would want it back.”
“Oh thanks, I didn’t even realise it was gone.”
On a warm Friday evening I find myself walking back from college when a feeling a dread washes over me. There’s a lump in my throat and my breathing quickens, I take longer strides in order to get back home quicker but that just serves to make me short of breath and sweaty.
Water, I know I need water, but I can’t just stop in the middle of the street. Maybe if I just keep walking I can make it home before I blow this whole thing out of proportion. What am I even worrying about, why did it just hit me like? I guess that’s why they call is generalised anxiety. I hope I don’t have a panic attack oh god I can’t have one in the middle of the street. Why are you even feeling like this? Nothing happened you were just walking down the street. Does this mean that my anxieties are getting worse, they can’t be getting worse, I can’t handle worse, okay I need to sit down.
I sit down on the nearest wall and fumble with my bag for some water, sipping at it gently I go over what I’m going to do when I get in the house, what homework I have this weekend and anything that I can use to ground myself again. As my breathing slowly returns back to normal I start to walk up the hill and hope that no one saw my latest moment of weakness.
Park City, Utah
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