Coping with crippling anxiety 

Ever since I was a little girl I have always been overwhelmed easily. Even as a baby my mom would hate taking me to grocery stores and large public places because I would just cry. In high school I never struggled with feeling anxious and was in fact quite the opposite. The pandemic hit and I spent a lot of that time by myself, watching shows, working out at home, and sitting in my room. When I came back to school after the pandemic I was completely overwhelmed with everything. This is a feeling that I was not used to. My biggest fear is going grocery shopping or going out in a large public setting surrounded by people and bright lights. I began to have panic attacks very frequently and isolate myself in my room to help ease those feelings of extreme panic. Not only was I anxious, but being alone was making it very lonely and I began to become very depressed.

The pandemic was something that really ruined my mental health and has made it very hard to snap back into the reality of life and how everything was. While I was home for Christmas break, my anxiety reached an all time high and I quite literally thought I was dying. I woke up from a nap and my heart was racing, I was shaking, and had hot sweats. I told my mom that I thought something was very wrong with me so she rushed me to the hospital where they ran a series of tests to find absolutely nothing wrong with me. They told me I was having a severe panic attack and this was all caused because of my anxiety. I have had a panic attack before, but it was nothing like this. I was very confused at this point and was grasping at anything that might help me. Since this incident I have gotten a therapist who has helped me walk through different coping mechanisms and also helped me realize that I am not alone in this. Mental health after the pandemic is something that I feel has been completely brushed over. There are so many people who need and want help, but there are very little resources to help. I have started reading every night, and slowly getting back into the gym. I make it my goal to try to go to the gym at least twice a week and then run outside or take a walk on the days where I feel like my anxiety can not handle that. I have my friends come with me to the grocery store and I always make a list and try to visualize where everything is on the shelves. I do a lot of online shopping and have come to the realization that it is okay to just stay at home and relax, I don’t always have to go out.

The pressure of being at a large party school has made it hard to realize that having nights in are okay and by not going out every weekend I’m not going to miss anything. Anxiety is something that is different for everyone and I’m still working on how to make things better. All I can do for now is recognize the problem and try to come up with solutions to best help combat my symptoms. Learning about your body and what triggers different reactions is very key to help yourself grow. 

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