For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived with anxiety. I “live with” rather than “suffer from” anxiety because it’s become a part of my identity whether I like it or not. Occasionally I’m able to switch my anxiety off as long as I’m with people I know well and am comfortable around, but in most social situations I feel like I’m walking on eggshells around my peers, paranoid about what they think about me or about what they must be saying behind my back.

It’s having to take several “bathroom breaks” just to calm down when things become too much. It’s worrying about every mundane, little thing from whether all my friends secretly hate me or remembering how my dog is getting old and not knowing how much more time I have left with him. These past three years of my life have been the most difficult period I’ve gone through with regards to my mental health by far.

While my middle school and high school years certainly were far from perfect, I expected myself to be over this teenage angst by college and I am constantly reminded of this failure every single day. I feel like such a failure and it gets worse whenever people ask about “your college friends” or “how is school?”

I’ve had to become accustomed to just giving classic one-word answers such as “good” or “fine.” It would be far too complicated to go in depth about all of the bad luck I’ve had ever since freshman year and how I feel like I have done something horrible in order to deserve all of this. However, by being willing to discuss all of this including on my social media platforms, I hope I can contribute to forming some sort of acceptance of mental health and fighting against stigma to show others like me they are not alone.