Thousands of people across the country are currently suffering from anxiety but will not attempt to seek help. Until recently, I was one of them. Mental illness is fighting a war where your opponent constantly attempts to convince you nothing is wrong. For many, it’s easier to not fight back and simply settle. My way of coping was to distance myself from what brought me stress — which was everything. I broke off parts of myself and pushed them as far away as possible. I avoided people who wanted to be my friends and pushed off assignments, effectively making myself an outcast and sinking my grades. Anxiety has cost me so much and I simply let it.
With starting college, I have found my mental health tested more than before and I find it hard to believe that I’m alone in this feeling. Even at my worst, I would refute the thought that I deserved help. Huddled in a locked bathroom stall breathing with what felt like an eight-ball shoved down my throat, trembling from the earthquake in my heart, I still felt that others have it worse than me. I felt ashamed even saying I had anxiety, I thought I would be disrespecting those who “actually” suffered from mental illness.
In writing this, I hope to tell others what I needed to be told. You don’t have to feel like this. Suffering is not a competition. When it comes to your mental health, put yourself first. Nothing will get better on its own. Admitting that you aren’t OK is the first step in getting better.