How I Deal With My Anxiety Through Writing

Sawyer Dixon

I’ve always found myself weaving in and out of times in my life during which I felt so overwhelmed I didn’t think I could get through another day. As time has gone by, I have found that these times are spanning longer periods of time and have gotten much more severe. At this point in my life, I constantly have this feeling that something is going to go wrong, or that I’m in the wrong place, or that I’m living in a dream world where nothing around me is real. Even though I am past just being sleep deprived, I still lay in my bed staring at the ceiling for hours on end before I can even consider the idea of sleeping. I spend more time with headphones in my ears than I do without. The sound of silence makes my heart beat so quickly that my body can barely keep up. 

Despite all of this, I’ve been scared to open up to anyone about just how bad my anxiety has gotten for fear of over dramatizing. Is it really as bad as I think it is? I mean, it’s gotten to the point where I rarely have a day that I don’t have a panic attack, but could that just be me overreacting? Overanalyzing? For the past three months I have been tense, stressed, and filled with this feeling that I am going to mess my entire life up. I’ve tried to convince myself that this happens to everyone, that I’m overreacting, but as each day passes, it becomes more clear that this isn’t something I can avoid anymore.

I started talking about my anxiety with friends on a very lowkey basis, casually mentioning how stressed I was or how I may have completely panicked over absolutely nothing the night before. I was hoping they wouldn’t catch onto how often it was occuring or notice how much more tense and reserved I’d become. Unfortunately (and fortunately), I have very observant friends who’ve called me out on my dismissal of how bad my nerves have gotten. As days have turned into weeks, I have become almost completely honest with them; at the same time, though, there is still so much I just can’t tell them. On my own time, I have started writing a page or two a day about my feelings, which has helped immensely, but not completely. I have also turned to music as a source of serenity and hope. It has allowed me to go into my own world and block out the big, scary challenges that I have to face every moment of every day. The problem with these escapes is that they don’t solve those hours that I spend in school. The amount of stress and nervousness I experience skyrockets when I even think about going to school. The constant stress of getting good grades, looking presentable, and being a good friend piles up. 

At this point, I have decided that I need to make a decision about how to continue each day. I can keep telling myself this is nothing, but that isn’t going to help me. For all I know, I could just be overly stressed and not actually have anxiety—but I won’t know that if I keep bottling my feelings up and automatically shutting down until I have another panic attack. Writing has become a huge outlet for me, which is strange because I’ve always hated doing so for school. However, being able to get my feelings onto paper has decreased the amount of panic attacks I have daily. Although I am not at the point where I feel like I can open up to my mom about this topic, I do want to get there eventually. Being someone who has never opened up to my mom about things as simple as getting my period or the boy I think is super cute, it feels impossible to talk about something so personal. By writing every day, I am able to organize my thoughts and figure out how to approach my anxiety. It has really become my anchor.

Writing is something you can do, too. The most important thing is that you don’t pressure yourself to write a certain amount each day. Some days I only feel like writing a handful of sentences about what I ate that day or how that boy in that one class made me smile so much my cheeks hurt after a matter of minutes. Other days, I write about how my day was so horrible that I shook nonstop and just wanted to go home so I could cry and hide in my room. If you try to force a certain amount of words a day, it will become more of a burden than an escape. Also, keep in mind that what you write is NOT going to be graded by a teacher. So make it yours! Write in slang or write in full words, write paragraphs or write random sentences in different sizes. What you write and how you write it is completely up to you. If you want to write with the same ballpoint pen each time, do it! If you want to be creative, use different colors! You don’t just have to write words down, either—you can doodle or draw full page pictures, too. Write or create what makes you feel good. I can only hope it brings you as much comfort as it has brought me these past few months. 

By Rosie Lauezzari

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