Stories from the Strong: Anxiety
March 10, 2021
The Valley CARE Coalition proudly presents stories from Valley County residents who have struggled, continue to struggle, or have found peace surrounding mental health, substance use disorders, or behavioral health. Battling this is a symbol of strength and courage and should be highlighted as such.
I was in middle school when I first went face-to-face with anxiety. I was constantly worried about little things like what I was wearing, if someone was mad at me (even if they had no reason to be), or my grades. These little issues would ruin whole days for me, even though I knew in my head that things would turn out okay. That's the deal with anxiety, though; it doesn't care if things will be okay, it stays in your head constantly telling you to worry about the things people generally don't think twice about.
As I got older, my anxiety became worse. It was really easy for me to tell myself that I was fine and that if I told anybody what I was feeling, they would think I was crazy. My anxiety has given me panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and even a suicide attempt. It wasn't until some terrible things happened in my life that I realized I needed to make a change.
Mental health affects one in five people in America. It is disheartening to know that people in our country still place that negative box around talking about the things we have going on in our brains. For me, I talked to friends, family, and others who were going through the same things as me, and once I told them about the voice in my head that was telling me that I always had to be worried, I was very comforted to know that I wasn't the only one struggling with getting my mind right.
I struggle with my anxiety every day. Some days are worse than others, some days I want to stay in my bed all day because I am afraid that something (or everything) will go wrong, and some days I am ready, and positive, and convinced I am going to change the world. Mental health is a constant battle that does not discriminate, but I know that I am strong and capable of overcoming my struggles.
If I have any advice for people going through mental health issues, it would be to talk. Just get the words out to someone you trust. Once you know that you have a support system, things can only get better. Whether you are talking to a friend, family, or a professional, just get the words out. It's okay to need help, it's okay to feel sad, but knowing that there are options and people out there to help you is the first step in making your life, and brain, more manageable. I'll end here with a short poem I wrote about new beginnings:
"A shattered heart lay on the floor
Jagged pieces pierce my skin as I stare down at what I used to be
Darkness spreads onto the ground
And I watch as my sorrows bleed into the oblivion
A subdued mind envelops me
As I reflect on the times that tore me down
I stumble away from my mistakes
Though I can hear them slithering close behind me
A refusal to turn back sinks deep into my bones
As I realize the only place to go is forward."
Do you want to share your story? Please visit the project tab on the Valley CARE Coalition website (valleycarecoalition.com) to submit your story. All submissions are anonymous.