Nothing is more annoying than adults saying something that will frustrate teens like me. Such as, “You’re not depressed, stop lying,” or “You’ll get over it, stop being dramatic.” In my case, it’s always having an adult telling me that I need to be more confident and I just need to stop being shy. I deal with anxiety, and it takes a huge toll on the way I interact around people.
Anxiety is more than just shyness or being nervous; it can have a really bad effect on someone’s reaction whenever they are in a situation that triggers the attack. For me it always starts before a situation that I know I’ll be anxious about. My stomach starts feeling very weird as if it was spinning around in repeated circles. Then I start to overthink and calm myself down after realizing that it’s only days or weeks away. But whenever I’m faced with a situation at the moment, especially when I’m alone, it starts getting worse. It honestly feels like you’re locked in with these negative emotions, trying to breathe in and out, but each time it feels very heavy and difficult like when you’ve been running for a very long time and you finally pause to catch your breath. Then comes the flooding tears that can go on for hours until your eyes become swollen and start to sting from the dryness. During all this, you’re violently shaking and sweating from overworking your body, which causes a headache. This kind of experience comes whenever I have to present in a group. I feel like people are watching closely and judging harshly. Sometimes it can be easy to control and get it over with, but other times it can last for hours until whatever triggers the attack is finally over.
After having this intense moment you tell me, “Just get over it.” Yeah, let me just tell my brain to stop giving me anxiety. Wow, I should’ve thought of that a long time ago. Why is it hard for you to understand how difficult it is to push through and deal with this everlasting pain? And as if that wasn’t enough, they compare me to other people who don’t have to go through this, and it hurts just the same. I feel as if I have failed in some way, but at the same time, I don’t want to feel as if I have to become a different person.
I need them to understand and realize that this is a serious struggle for me. It’s not me being mean or that I hate people. But I prefer being on my own and staying observant of my surroundings and getting lost in my thoughts and dreams. Don’t try to shape me into becoming someone you wish I would be; instead, take your time with me and listen to what I’m trying to tell you so you can understand and help me. When you make me feel that my mental health is less important, I feel like drifting farther away or that no one around will be able to help. That makes me think that I need to go on my own and figure it out.