I have anxiety. It isn’t the kind of anxiety where I get panic attacks, or I freeze because I have so much to do. It is a functional anxiety. I have problems making a decision without the what-ifs creeping into my mind for days after. I have problems when I feel like I don’t know what my function or place is in any given activity or event. Some might call me a type A personality—an overachiever. Except, in my mind, I am not trying to be an overachiever—I am trying to get my mind to calm down. I get anxious and panicky when I have a lot of free time. The free time allows my mind to stew on things—and not in a good way. I am not problem solving, I am over-analyzing what I have said 3 months ago and wondering if it was really important for me to have said that. The constant business keeps my mind from ruminating on what is really in the scheme of things considered to be minutia. If I have a physical problem outside of myself to deal with, it helps me not to be so anxious. I wish knitting would do it for me but unfortunately, it just keeps my hands busy and not my mind. One can only binge so much on Netflix and sleep so many hours before these thoughts and the anxiety creep into that as well. It is my anxiety that fuels my depression. I have learned that if I manage the quiet anxiety by staying busy, I can manage my depression and OCD. So the marking of the end of a semester creates a mild panic in my psyche. The second summer session starts next week, and I only have one online class. So, essentially, I have 7 weeks of unfettered time between now and the start of my fall semester. These kind of things my husband isn’t able to understand. He doesn’t understand why I have been obsessively checking for a new syllabus for my photography class that is starting next week. He can’t understand why I randomly decide to mow the lawn even though my allergies want to kill me. Because of all of this, I have decided that planning the next seven weeks would be a good thing. Some of my friends think I’m weird that I have to have things planned out but it gives me more structure than I would have otherwise. There are things I want to do, so this is a time to do it. I plan on learning some C++ so I don’t feel stupid in my intro class. I plan on learning some German to help me along in my German class. I also plan on brushing up on my Calculus and Physics because I want to get good grades in those classes. I know it sounds stupid, but I am going to treat these next seven weeks as though I am in class. I will still have plenty of time to binge on Netflix, play D&D, and play video games. My time will just be more structured to keep me from ruminating on what I said in Mrs. Cocanower’s freshman English class because she wasn’t explaining that Romeo and Juliet right because she was afraid of sex. For the record, I am not a pushover- I am probably the most contrary person anyone could meet. I just don’t do well with vast amounts of free time.
Anxiety isn’t something to be ashamed of. Mental illness isn’t something to be mocked or laughed at. It is real, and can be extremely debilitating. So, if you are experiencing depression, anxiety, etc. don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor- or if pharma isn’t something you want, get yourself a therapist. Sometimes you can find really cool ones that are worth the effort it takes to open up to them.