Oct 21, 2011 0 Share

Anxiety


Male student with head in hands surrounded by books.
iStockphoto

One feeling which I have become very accustomed to throughout my life is anxiety. On many occasions, I feel an enormous pressure to complete a task or intense anticipation for a certain event which I find hard to ignore. This force has been both a powerful motivator and an almost insurmountable obstacle in my life. I am not sure if I will ever be completely rid of it.

When I feel anxious, my mind becomes clouded, oblivious to everything around me except for the task at hand. As my anxiety grows, individual details begin to overshadow other aspects of my activities, standing out like large towers looming in my mind. My worrying also takes a physical toll on me, causing me to feel moments of weakness and to get ill. It takes much encouragement from the people around me, mainly my mother, for me to stop becoming so obsessed.

My time in college has provided many examples of how anxiety affects my everyday life. In the days leading up to each semester, I check the college website daily for when my classes will be put up, becoming more anxious with each passing day when they are not. Once classes do start, I then become obsessed with my assignment deadlines, working feverishly to fulfill all of the requirements for each and worrying about every last detail. Even when my assignments are finished, I begin to worry about what my final grades will be for each submission, the class as a whole, and my collective grade point average. The presence of so many details in one setting tends to overwhelm me to the point where I think that I am suffering the academic equivalent of not seeing the forest for the trees.

Anxiety recently played a significant role in my preparation for the current college semester. I was at the college bookstore with my mother looking for the textbooks I would need for my classes. I became anxious as soon as I got into the store. I was not able to take in my surroundings and I headed directly for the cash register without realizing there were people in line ahead of me cashing out. My mother had to point out to me that there were people ahead of me and that I needed to get out of their way. The crowded situation in the store caused me to feel a bit claustrophobic. We spent a minute or two finding the books on our own, during which time I became worried that they would either be sold out or unavailable. One of the store’s employees helped us find the remaining books I needed, but I became somewhat uncomfortable around him, just as I would around anyone I do not normally interact with on a regular basis. Also, there was a line of people in front of the store’s cash register, meaning that my anxieties grew the longer we waited for our checkout time to come. Furthermore, because of my spatial issues when people are too close to me, it became uncomfortable as people passed in front of and behind me to get where they wanted to go. I am glad that this ritual of my college life only happens about twice a year, but when it does come around, I always feel uncomfortable about it.

Life outside of college also offers plenty of opportunities for my anxieties to surface. If my family is about to head out for an errand or trip, I wait for the anticipated time of departure; it always seems a few moments away to me, making any delay seem an eternity. If I decide to watch a TV show at a certain time and I do not feel inclined to record it using the DVR, I attempt to pass the time by visiting my favorite websites on the Internet, playing video games, or watching television, but the primary show’s start time is constantly thumping around in my head, which sometimes drives me to distraction for the moments leading up to it. Details of my daily chores, such as making sure that I put the right amount of detergent into the washing machine, sweep every single visible portion of the kitchen floor, and straighten all of the sheets of my bed haunt me for long periods of time during the day. It seems that hardly a moment of the time that I am awake goes by without some new worry accompanying me.

In my examination of my anxieties, I have found that I have a tendency to concoct mountains out of molehills; I perceive imaginary difficulties when, in reality, the challenges life presents to me are comparatively easy. I feel that I need to work on controlling my anxieties. For most of my day, I suffer from anxieties of every possible sort even when I know that this should not be so. I have spoken with my parents several times about learning to control my anxieties, but thus far, I have been unable to take their advice to heart. I am not sure if I will be able to completely control my worries so that they will cease to be a regular occurrence, but I do and will try to not let them rule my life.