Private Fears in Public Places

I have loved the medical field since I was a child. There is such a broad world when looking at the science of medicine and disease.

As I grew older and took science classes focused on the human body, I began to develop a fascination with various illnesses and their underlying causes. I read health magazines and blogs about rare diseases in my spare time.

However, my love for anything medical was stifled by my increasing anxiety. Learning that a virus could penetrate the immune system and wreak havoc on the human body without a way for the virus to be effectively treated medically increased my anxiety.

I realized that I am among the 18 percent of people who struggle with anxiety (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). When I got to college, the increased stress and pressure to stay on top of my course work, as well as a job increased anxiety in my life.

While I was consumed by the disorder, anxiety caused me to waste a large amount of my time focusing on extraneous thoughts.

I spent many sleepless nights unable to calm my racing thoughts about whether or not I was sick, and this caused me to be sluggish and drowsy during my morning classes. I would continuously keep myself busy with work and physical activities because I had nervous energy.

At my worst moments in my struggle with anxiety, I would have hot spells and anxiety attacks where I felt like I could not breathe and was paranoid.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 30.2 percent of anxiety cases come from adults ranging in age from 18 to 29 years old. Therefore, college students make up a large amount of anxiety cases.

According to Dr. Rebecca Lawson, director of FMU counseling and testing center, there is a large presence of students with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder.

Lawson says a healthy dose of anxiety can help keep people be conscientious and reasonably safe. However, anxious thoughts can inhibit people from being productive when those thoughts are in excess.

When anxious thoughts encompass the mind, the individual begins to focus more attention on uncertainty rather than concrete thoughts.

Lawson suggests anxiety-filled students to focus on the unhappiness they face in the present, not the potential unhappiness that may arise in the future. Lawson also tells people struggling with anxiety to stop and ask themselves if they are focusing on something that is in the now or the fear of the future.

Anxiety is a hard illness to face while going through daily life. I know that in my own walk with anxiety I have struggled many times in relationships, grades and other areas of my life as a result of anxiety over what will happen in the future.

A small reminder I tell myself when I am feeling anxious is a quote from the Bible, Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Do not let the stress of what could happen tomorrow take over your thoughts. There is enough time in your fingertips to focus on without looking to the stress of the future.