Welcome back, everyone, to Reader of the Month! This month, I have convinced one of my very best friends, going under the alias, Buddy, to join the Legally Brunette family by making her debut as February’s Reader of the Month. In her captivating opinion piece entitled, “Mind Games,” she discusses her experience with having an anxiety disorder, commonly found among teenagers, and delves into the misconceptions, day-to-day struggles of feeling “policed” by your own mind, and steps she took to regain control of the fear that had overwhelmed . I am beyond impressed with Buddy’s open mindedness and pure honesty that I know will inspire not only those suffering from anxiety, but anyone who is in need of hearing wisdom from someone who has survived tough times. Leave a comment below showing support for this blog, and for Buddy, as well as all former and prospective ROMs, whose willingness to share their experiences, opinions, and creativity has immensely shaped my outlook on the world, and this blog’s mission as a whole. Introducing Buddy, with the piece, “Mind Games.”
~The Legally Brunette
If there’s one phrase that I hate, it’s “It’ll get better.” The truth is, that things tend to not get better, but more so get more tolerable. Whatever your challenge to overcome is will always be a part of you no matter what, which is sad, but a true statement. For example, I have an anxiety disorder. I worry about events in the future going wrong in such elaborate ways that it keeps me from truly expressing myself and living my life to the fullest. I’m afraid to go up to the front of the classroom to sharpen my pencil because I’m afraid I’ll trip and make a fool of myself. I’m afraid to talk to people if I don’t really know them in fear that just saying “hi” will sound stupid. In fact, my anxiety has only gotten worse throughout the years. As a young kid I just thought I was shy, but when I started to get nervous and anxious talking on the phone with my grandparents, I knew I needed help. Now I go to therapy, and while my anxiety is still there and will always be there, it has become more manageable.
A lot of times people wonder what anxiety really feels like, because they just figure “Well everybody has anxiety, get over it.” But the fact is, that those people will probably get anxiety about a project or homework or maybe public speaking at times, whereas with anxiety, you could say “Good morning” to someone and spend the rest of the day analyzing all the wrong ways it could have sounded or been perceived. Anxiety is like having a police officer constantly follow you around saying “You can’t do that.” It’s like becoming a scared little girl again for the smallest things. So while therapy can’t cure my anxiety per se, it has taught me a lot of ways to tone it down and get through my daily life without worrying about things such as whether that stranger that walked past me thought I looked weird.
Two of the biggest things that I have learned in therapy have been that 1) Everybody is focusing on themselves and their lives, and are not very worried about how you said something to them that may have sounded weird to you, and 2) There’s a difference between awkward and quiet. What I mean by there’s a difference between awkward and quiet is that, yes, I’m a generally soft spoken person with a quiet nature. However, I still laugh and have fun with friends and family, so just because media portrays the quiet kids in school as being awkward, does not make it true. I always thought I was super weird for being quiet, since from a young age I would see all the kids around me talking to each other and talking out in class and I would wonder “Is it weird that I don’t talk as much as them?” And then when awkward was added to my vocabulary, I figured that was what I was, when in reality, quiet isn’t weird or awkward.
Although I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you’re never going to be perfect, you will have some slip ups, but will they always happen? No. Should you restrict yourself from doing things because you’re afraid you’ll slip up? NO. Not at all. Trust yourself, and your body will trust you back.
About the Author: Buddy is one of the Legally Brunette’s very best friends, and they never have a normal day as long as they’re together.
Mental health is a very serious topic, one that should never be taken lightly. If you believe you or someone you know has a mental illness similar to anxiety or depression, visit some of these websites to learn more information and receive care:
https://www.adaa.org/ (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
http://www.worrywisekids.org/ (Worry Wise Kids)
http://teenmentalhealth.org/ (Teen Mental Health)