Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

By Chiara Cristiano

The sun is rising outside.

My eyes open and a million ideas flock into my head. Did I finish all my homework? Did I forget to do something? Why am I so tired? Do I have to get out of bed? Do I have everything ready for school? What’s the point of getting up? I am constantly bombarded with a ton of thoughts no matter what the situation may be. Walking to the metro, my heart begins to race. Why is this happening? There’s nothing to be anxious about! I don’t even have any presentations or exams today. The metro arrives. I step in and continue the treacherous conversation I am having with myself in my head. Is the teacher going to call on me today? Oh my god what if I say the wrong answer! Everyone will definitely never talk to me again. I can’t look stupid in front of my class.

I walk up the stairs to my first class and I’m scared for what school has in store for me. My mind is still racing with thoughts. I walk into class, and a few people look in my direction. What are they thinking? Do I look like a mess? I hope I don’t look too tired. Tired. That’s how I feel. Constantly draining myself in useless thoughts when I know in fact no one in the end even cares about how I look, or what I said in class when the teacher picked on me. Tired of all these times I’ve told myself to stay quiet and keep my opinions or my thoughts to myself in order to please others around me. I’m tired of staying fully awake, having restless nights where I cannot stop thinking about the smallest details of what happened today. Have I made a fool of myself? Why am I still thinking about this when I know that no one even cares! This is the battle I struggle to fight every day. My mind is full of energy and is constantly telling me off, but my body is tired. I’m finally able to meet up with one of my friends during my break, a time where I can talk to someone and not completely drown into my own thoughts. By the time my last class comes around, I feel so thankful that the day is finally over. I catch the metro as soon as possible and tell myself that I will start my homework the second I get home, from work that is. After my tiring few shifts at work filled with rude customers, I remind myself that the day is actually over, but then remember that it in fact isn’t. I make my way home and procrastinate on all the homework I have to get done. An hour passes by. Then two hours pass by. It’s getting late and I still haven’t started anything. To be honest, I am afraid. Afraid that my work will never be good enough. The expectations I have for myself are too high and I know this is unobtainable therefore I give up even before I start. I somehow manage to finish my homework. I try to lay down and shut my eyes but the endless cycle repeats. Once it becomes quiet, my head fills with thoughts again and it is impossible to fall asleep.

The saddest thing is, I am not alone. A ton of my friends and classmates are suffering too, but they don’t even want to admit it. It pains me every day to see someone in my situation but they are too afraid to seek help. “People will think I’m crazy.” “It’s fine it’s not that big of a deal.” Mental health is constantly being swept under the rug when it is just as important as going to the doctor when you have a broken arm. In the future I hope children, teenagers, and adults do not have to suffer as much and tend to their needs without being discriminated against. I hope people can realize that their illness does not define them as a person. Admitting you have a problem that needs to be addressed is the first step to getting better.

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