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Thriving with Anxiety

Managing the crippling chronic mental illness

Every day we are impacted by what goes on in the world around us. From the things we see, hear, and smell. Upon being affected by these things, we must continuously make decisions.

I struggle at times to make the most straightforward decisions. Whether to drink coffee or not, what color to paint my nails, the list goes on. I wanted to write about this because I know I am not the only person that struggles with decision-making and living with anxiety.

For example, indecisiveness is sometimes labeled a “bad thing,” but this is not always the case when other factors are involved. To begin, things such as turning on the television to either watch the news or our favorite show, driving to work, getting ready for a soccer game, or simply taking the short or long way home are all things we decide on daily.

 It is estimated that the average human makes around 35,000 decisions a day. Imagine that number from the time we wake up to the time we rest.

For some, making decisions can come naturally; however, making those same decisions can be daunting and mentally exhausting for others. Research has defined “Decision fatigue” as a psychological phenomenon surrounding a person’s ability or capacity to make decisions. The result is that a person feels worse after making said decision.

Another issue that many people face as opposed to decision fatigue is anxiety. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal stress reaction. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a complex problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.

According to the Mayo Clinic, many of us have experienced some form of anxiety to some degree. It could be on a smaller scale than others or worse. For some people dealing with anxiety, it can be crippling to the point of not being able to leave their home, let alone their bed. So, with so many decisions to make, how does one deal with anxiety and making decisions?

From personal experience, I have dealt with anxiety, and I still do. Anxiety is a super frustrating thing because sometimes you have the best day ever, and everything is going well; then, your mind starts racing, and all these “thoughts” hit you at once.

I realized I dealt with anxiety a year ago, and there are moments when I can feel that it is increasing. The best way to describe anxiety is when you’re driving a car, and it suddenly goes from 10 mph to 60 mph. It sounds scary, but that is how it feels for me.

Sometimes something as simple as going on a date can cause me to have a meltdown. For example, at first, I was super excited to get ready, do my makeup, then suddenly, so many thoughts hit me at once. Does he like me? Will this go somewhere? Am I too dressed up? Those are just some of the things.

Once I calm myself from those thoughts, I may get in the car and think, “will I get in an accident,” “will my car break down” and when I feel my mind racing, it is like, “Jasmine, calm down because 9/10 the things I am thinking aren’t true it just comes from fear I believe”. I discussed anxiety with some of my friends, and one of my friends went through something similar

One of my friends, Josh, says anxiety feels like a car going super-fast and out of control. Another friend, Destinee, told me that her anxiety got so bad that she would stay in her room, cry, and push things off to the next day. Although it was hard to hear my friends go through this, it was also refreshing because it showed me that not only am I not alone, but others like me are looking for ways to manage their anxiety.

I wish I could go with the flow more and worry less, and I think it is possible, but I know I must work harder. Another example is that if I’m dating someone, I may think, “okay, well, I wonder when we will break up, or how long will this last,” etc. It is so much to the point that I tell myself to just stay single or be closed off. Love is super beautiful for me and scary because I am always thinking about statistics of breakups, people losing interest, seasons changing and how people change, and a plethora of other things.

I think it’s also hard because I am navigating life in my 20s and trying to figure out so much. Being in your 20s is such a strange time because it’s like people are post-grad, but also getting engaged, having kids, etc., and then people like me, I am still figuring my life out. So, amongst relationships and dating, anxiety has impacted daily routines like waking up and making plans. I seriously struggle with making plans because committing to things makes me feel so uneasy. It’s hard to explain, but planning things so far out can make me feel even more anxious. Nonetheless, with all the paralyzing challenges anxiety has, there is always a silver lining.

I have found it helpful to include journaling, therapy, hot green tea, yoga, affirmations, talking to friends/mentors, crying, self-reflecting, and continued healing. In the past, I spoke with my therapist literally about everything that plagued me, and opening to a third party is highly beneficial. Seeking therapy does not mean you are weak, and treatment has a stigma at times that something must be wrong with a person, and that is not true. The best thing to do is to research counseling centers nearest you, and one thing that people may not know is that sometimes it takes going to more than one therapist until you find the best fit for you. I encourage everyone to try therapy and not to lose hope if, at first, it seems not to work. I hope anyone dealing with anxiety finds solace in some of the things I’ve shared. And I hope whoever is reading this knows you are not alone.


Resources:

Mental Health First Aid

American Counseling Association

Centre for Clinical Interventions

Jasmine Jones is one of six fellows in the Journalism Camp: Covering Race, Ethnicity, and Culture sponsored by the Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF).


The first-in-class free 12-week program led by the Owner/Publisher of the Latino News Network and twice president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)Hugo Balta provides practical guidelines for fair and accurate storytelling.

Jasmine Jones


Jasmine is a recent grad who studied Journalism with a Multimedia Concentration. “I love all things pertaining to News, Media, Fashion, Traveling, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and the list goes on,” she said. “I enjoy meeting new people and learning more about their backgrounds.”

Cover Photo by Joice Kelly on Unsplash

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