Column: How to live with anxiety

Life Hacks: Tips to dealing with the typical busy life at BC

Veronica Morley

Veronica Morley

Veronica Morley, Reporter

I have suffered from anxiety officially for four years, however, I can remember having anxiety and panic attacks since I was eight years old. It’s not always easy to explain how these attacks start or how to identify them because there are many different types and many different reasons. I can only explain what anxiety is like for myself.

The earliest anxiety attack I can recall was when I was eight years old. My parents had divorced and custody battles seemed to take place every few months. For me, the stress of being told to choose which parent you want to live with and why was too difficult to comprehend at such a young age. At the time, an attack would cause me to hyperventilate and the only way I knew to control it was to sit in my closet until it calmed down. Something about the dark and quiet space helped me to relax.

Over the years I’ve learned more about myself and my anxiety. Now I can easily tell when it starts acting up or how to calm myself when an attack starts. I’ve also learned more about the condition itself and helped comfort others who struggle with the condition. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who do not understand anxiety.

From my experience, those who have never experienced long-term anxiety and don’t understand it usually just write it off as stress. I have been told by dear friends that my anxiety was not real and I was just not coping with stress well.

Before I understood my condition, being told this would send me into a complete internal frenzy. On the outside, I would just completely shut down. Nowadays if someone says my anxiety is not real for whatever reason I just move on and remind myself not to turn to that person in times of stress again.

If you are ever in the position where someone trusts you enough that they are willing to open up to you about the struggles they deal with, please, I beg of you, do not take that lightly. Anxiety is a real condition. It is extremely difficult to deal with.

One of the hardest things about anxiety is the fact that it is internal and it takes so many different forms. To some people, an anxiety attack can look like an asthma attack where breathing becomes rapid but you can’t seem to actually get air. Sometimes it results in complete silence. It’s not that the person has nothing to say, but they physically cannot find the strength or capability to say anything. Sometimes it can result in complete fear with no explanation.

Those are just a few examples of anxiety that I have experienced with myself and with others.

As college students, we all deal with stress. We all know what it’s like to feel anxious about deadlines, grades, money, etc. Now imagine feeling that stress everyday but with no explanation why. That’s how it feels to deal with anxiety. You can’t always give a reason, sometimes it’s just so.