It takes a lot in you to admit you have a problem. But what happens if you admit the problem and nothing changes? If the problem goes unresolved? What happens with the daily struggles people coping face?
All my life I’ve been a nail biter. It’s something that I’ve thought was beyond my control but I’ve always assumed it was stress-related. As tests approached, I bit even more than normal. Normally, I’m able to control myself (for the most part), but there are some days where I just lose it all. There’s no nail left to bite.
One of those times was my sophomore year of undergrad; it was late at night and I was having doubts about my career path. I broke down. Lost control. It was 2 a.m. and I had to call home. After what seemed like hours on the phone, hysterical, my mom helped me recompose myself and we reached the conclusion that I needed to change my major.
I don’t recount this story to share the struggles of a typical college student. (Let’s be real, we all change our majors a few times.) I tell this story to show what I believe was my first true anxiety attack. From that point on, I’ve made efforts to stay mindful and in control, but you always have a worry about the future.
Unfortunately I’ve been unable to seek professional help yet, but help comes in all forms. Help for me has come from speaking my mind and sharing how I feel. Whether that’s speaking it over with friends or family, it helps to have people to turn to. Bottling everything up only leads to an eventual implosion, and that’s when the attack gets extreme. My advice? Don’t be afraid to tell people how you feel. Help comes in all forms, and there are many people out there who can relate to your struggles. Since talking to my parents, they’ve been understanding because they can relate. You never know who’s struggling, but there’s always a way to relate. My parents have their own flaws, but that helps them to understand mine and be my advocate when I so desperately need it.
You’re never alone. Never forget that. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by help, but there are plenty of people who aren’t. Seek help, in any form, and it makes coping with struggles that much easier. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), “One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year.” It’s okay to have a mental illness; they’re common and treatable. I’m one of those 61.5 million, and that’s okay. You’re never struggling alone, and you never know what other people are dealing with. Be there to help others and make sure to help yourself.