Break the stigma surrounding anxiety

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I have anxiety, and I am not ashamed.

First off, it is difficult for me to write this, mostly because not a lot of people outside of my friends and family know about it.

Having anxiety is frustrating when you are faced with the negative connotation, that I’ll have a mental breakdown over the slightest things. I mainly don’t tell people I have anxiety because people will often give me stares and treat me like I’m about to fall apart when something bad happens. They may even suggest that I want special treatment.

But that is simply not the case.

I’ve heard countless times by friends, family and even professors that I shouldn’t do something because it might stress me out too much. And, sadly, I used to take this to heart. But because of my anxiety, I have been able to accomplish even more.

An article in the Odyssey titled “Anxiety and the Empowered Mind,” Ariel Haynes writes, “Anxiety is empowering.” To clarify, I am talking about all types of anxiety: social anxiety, stress-related anxiety and psychological, what people call, “disorders.” Anxiety is always stressing about things that don’t necessarily need to be stressed over. Social anxiety has to do with the fear of being in social situations. Stress-related anxiety is dealing with chronic stress. 

Haynes goes on to talk about different ways anxiety can be empowering; anxiety teaches us to live in the moment, embrace the unknown, learn decision-making skills and grasp self-care.

I have experienced all of these learning opportunities and can say having anxiety isn’t as bad as society makes it out to be. I’ve been able to take on being a full-time student in college, working part time, and of course, working for this newspaper, which takes up most of my time. I have succeeded, and of course, I’ve failed.

People with anxiety often compare it to the feeling of drowning, and while that might resonate truth, it depends on the situation. Some can handle more than others, and that is OK.

If you deal with anxiety on a daily basis, don’t be afraid to do what you want, even if people tell you that you can’t handle it.

It may sound crazy, but having anxiety is a benefit of sorts. Anxiety has taught me how to not procrastinate, and it has also taught me how to multitask.  

I’ve grasped that I can handle a lot more, despite what people have said I can and can’t handle.

Anxiety is not a stigma. It’s an opportunity to better yourself.