彩民之家APP

 
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I鈥檓 starting this letter by googling the symptoms of anxiety. It seems stupid. I鈥檝e been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder since elementary school, and I feel like I should be familiar with the symptoms by now.

But I鈥檝e become so used to the racing heart and intense fear of making the wrong decision that I often forget that these things don鈥檛 happen to everyone.

They鈥檙e feelings that spring right to the forefront as I write a letter about something that I鈥檝e never been able to speak about publicly without crying, but I鈥檓 determined to write through the process this time.

I think I have so much trouble talking about being diagnosed with anxiety because it feels like admitting defeat. Like many people who struggle with anxiety, I am a perfectionist. I spend an excessive amount of time doing homework, sometimes to the point of being frozen with fear over not understanding how to get to a 鈥済ood enough鈥 answer. I鈥檝e always strived for academic approval and looked for constant reassurance of my performance.

As a result, I often put myself in a box when it comes to what it means to be good or successful. I tell myself that I can鈥檛 be a good student and have extended time. I can鈥檛 be editor-in-chief and spend an hour sending an email. I can鈥檛 be normal and have anxiety. But I鈥檝e started to realize that鈥檚 my anxiety talking. So instead, I鈥檓 taking time to redefine what normal means. I鈥檓 learning that asking for an extension on a stressful deadline or needing to take time for myself doesn鈥檛 make me less 鈥 it makes me human.

I hope this issue reassures you that no one you meet is perfect or 鈥渘ormal,鈥 and that everyone has something they struggle with behind the scenes. We all have room to struggle and grow, and the greatest step toward feeling better is giving ourselves permission to do so.

My first step is telling all of you about my anxiety and hoping I can mention it more casually in the future. I鈥檓 learning that it is nothing to be ashamed of, and I hope you will realize that you shouldn鈥檛 be ashamed of your struggles either. Let's redefine normal together.

Take care,

Sydney Dunlap锘