I’ve dealt with anxiety for the past three years. For a while, I couldn’t put a name to it. I just knew that I was a person who worried a lot. But after a while, it’s become clear: I have anxiety. I worry about things a lot, quite a bit more than dare-I-say “normal” people would. I am fifteen years old, and I’ve been dealing with anxiety on a pretty high scale since I was twelve. However, looking back, I’ve had anxious tendencies for a while.
I remember telling my parents that I was worried about getting spit on the floor or rubbing my Barbie’s foot on the wall, even though I knew that I didn’t need to worry about it. That’s one thing about anxiety: you can pretty much know that something that you’re worried about is not going to happen, and yet you can’t get the thought out of your mind. It stays there, it bugs you, and you feel like you have to do something to prevent it from happening - even though you don’t think it’s going to happen - just to make it go away.
My anxiety has gotten better. Not entirely - that’s going to be a long process - but I’ve made improvements that I am incredibly grateful for. It hasn’t just been one thing that has helped me along the way, it’s been tons of things combined, and they all work together to improve my anxiety, and I have hope that it’s going to keep getting better and better the more I learn and the more I grow.
Like I said: I’ve been anxious for a while. And as crazy as it sounds, if I could get rid of my anxiety, I wouldn’t. Even though there is so much more to my personality and who I am as a human being than just my anxiety, it’s become a part of me that in a crazy way I love. Don’t get me wrong: having anxiety can be a painful and challenging experience, but my anxiety has helped me to grow in ways that I never would’ve grown without it. Long story short, I wouldn’t be the same, I wouldn’t be ME without my anxiety. Maybe I will eventually not have anxiety anymore, and that’s okay; in fact, that’s fantastic. But I wouldn’t take away the lessons I’ve learned and the ways that I’ve grown because of my anxiety.
And, not to mention, sometimes my anxiety comes in handy. Like when I have homework and I decide to get it done early because I want to make sure I get a good night’s sleep. Or when we have company over and I go to bed early to help myself get a good night’s sleep because I know I’ll be anxious and crabby the next day if I don’t. My anxiety helps me stay on top of things.
How I’ve learned these 100 things
You might wonder how I came up with this list of 100 things. 100 is a lot. Here’s how, though: by default. When you have an issue, you’ll probably figure out some things that make it worse and some things make it better. Throughout the past three years, I’ve discovered a lot of the things that make it better - and worse. I consider myself to be fairly “in-tune” with my body, which helps me to know what’s going to improve or worsen my anxiety.
Over the past three years, I’ve come up with a fairly extensive list of the things that help me. I think that even though this list has done its job by helping me, it would be selfish of me to keep it to myself. It's work is not yet done. I don’t want you to have to go through the pain of anxiety in order to learn these lessons for yourself. Not everything that works for me is going to be right for you - keep that in mind.
That’s why I’m giving you these things, and I hope they help you immensely.
100 Ways to Manage Anxiety
I know firsthand that it’s hard not to look for the magic bullet, the one thing that will get you out of your anxiety rut and make you feel better forever. But I also know firsthand that for me, such a thing has never been found - and I suspect it never will. I want you to realize that it’s not one thing, but many seemingly little things that add up over time that make the biggest difference. In the past three years, I haven’t found my magic bullet, and yet somehow I have progressed. It’s not because of any one thing I did or discovered, it’s because I’ve been searching for answers and finding little ones everywhere, everyday. It’s because I’ve refused to accept this as the way I’m going to live my life. It’s because I keep trying and trying and trying, and I’ve gotten this far because I don’t let setbacks get in my way, I let them help me to get better and to grow. I don’t usually see immediate differences, but I’ve found many ways of helping myself, which, in the end, is a process, a process that I wouldn’t trade for anything because it’s made me the person I am today.
Do you have anxiety? What helps you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!