Anxiety: Let's Talk About It

Anxiety is a feeling that happens naturally in the human brain. Our fight or flight responses check on whenever danger is perceived. For some of us, danger is always there. It’s in our bed beside us at night, hiding around the corner, and always ready to strike. Danger can manifest itself in different ways, creating different issues for all. For these Lithium contributors, anxiety is a part of their everyday lives. Here are their stories.

Entry #1
Written by Quin Severo
I am exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open and my stomach growls as though it is begging me to feed it. I don’t feel healthy. I feel mentally and physically ill, and I can hardly sit through a conversation without experiencing a panic attack. I wish everything were simpler. I feel as though I’m too lazy, sensitive, and soft for this world― sometimes, I wonder why I was even born. I procrastinate too much. I rarely get anything done, and then convince myself that this is normal. I feel lonely even though I’m not alone, and I want to work harder but it never feels as though my work pays off. I constantly wonder why I’m like this and wish that I were different. I often feel like a disappointment― as though no one should have expectations for me because I’m bound to let them down. I hope things get better. Maybe I need to meditate on my thoughts and spend some time with myself, but I don’t want to further isolate.  

The Big Bad Wolf
Written By Elijah Collins
Anxiety has lurked around my life ever since I could remember. I inherited it from my mom’s side of the family, so I never had to spend time convincing my parents that I did have anxiety. They already knew. It was as difficult when I was younger, but these past two years with anxiety have been tough. I’ve been petrified to speak to people, and so I’ve been pushing myself to do something crazy: I’m in theatre. It’s extremely fun and I’ve made tons of friends, but I still get anxious on the stage. I had my first panic attack about two years ago. It was at a swim meet and I just broke down. My hands could not stop shaking. That was my first anxiety attack, and I knew it wouldn’t be my last. I wouldn’t say my anxiety has gotten better, as it’s still pretty bad. Yesterday, however, I helped a girl through her first anxiety attack. It’s scary experiencing an anxiety attack alone, and I knew she needed help. I was glad to help.

Written by Samantha Fabian
Visual by Danielle Leard

I want to stop feeling. I’m so anxious. I just want peace of mind again. I’ve been here before. Do we ever learn? Or do we just temporarily forget what we went through until we’re here again? Maybe I forget the intensity of former pains because it always feels so brand new— so sharp. It always feels like the worst. Am I blind? Why do I seem to take a path that leads to the same end?
What if it takes me a while to get over you? I’m scared of the thought of the process. I’m scared of the old conversations, my own thoughts and memories of you. I’m always reminded of your essence. I want to forget. I’m so scared of myself— of what I’m capable of remembering.
It did happen. It turned out right when I told you before that you’re going to ruin me either way. Grotesquely funny and extremely tragic. The thought of listening to music and looking at my own journal where I wrote everything since the first month we met each other cripplingly scares me. I want to disappear. I want to hide. Did I dig up my own grave when I decided to love you? I think you did.
I will never get high off nostalgia ever again unless I want to see myself inside that grave with eyes wide open.

Written by Ndemazea Fonkem
Visual by Kathryn Zix
I learned about the brand Arizona iced tea when I was in 5th grade. It was 2013. Trayvon Martin had just been unjustly killed with an Arizona and a bag of Skittles in his pockets. So I walked down to the convenience store and bought one in his honor.
A lot of things happened for me in 5th grade. It was the year of my romantic awakening- in short, there was a boy. A tall boy with alabaster skin, piercing blue eyes, and a silver cross strung around his neck. It was the first time I experienced what I thought was love. It was pure. It was beauty; nonetheless, each day had my heart pounding out of my chest when he walked by. In short, it didn't work out.
Fifth grade was the first time I experienced rejection. On March 14th, 2013, I declared my undying love for this boy in GChat. It was the biggest romantic gesture that my eleven-year-old self knew. He told me that he would never like me because he could never see himself dating a black girl.
It was the year of my self-awareness. Those words struck a chord in my soul like the last note a chorus sings and my body became a battleground. It was starved and cut and bruised and broken as if somehow it would make me pale. Like this slow suicide would somehow make me white enough for male attention. The mental illness inside my brain festered, blaming myself for being too black. For being too loud and taking up space my white counterparts could colonize. If I somehow could return that Arizona I bought in remembrance for my fallen black brother, if I could somehow take away my history and my lineage and my culture to make myself someone I was not, at this point I would have.
The skin I was in was not a home, but a war torn city better left abandoned. It's three years later now. The boy is but a footnote in a long list of childhood mistakes. I feel my body is no longer a battlefield, but a national on the rebound. Trayvon is still buried, and still dead, and his life is one I think about every time I sip out of an Arizona tea can.


  1. this is amazingly curated. heartbreaking but true. glad to be a part of this.

  2. such a touching collaboration, with stunning visuals