What does anxiety feel like?

Heart pounding, unable to sleep, scared, restless; sounds like sitting in a scary movie, right? No, just a few of the feelings one gets when living with severe anxiety. Anxiety in and of itself is a disability. However, living with it and working to overcome it, I have found strengths within myself. As a result, I feel it has helped me grow as an individual and to be a more compassionate person in society.

Facing my fears

Anxiety has forced me to face my fears. I don’t have to be the best at everything, but I do have to give my best to everything. Living with anxiety has helped me to be more prepared in life as I often think of outcomes and how to overcome them. Because of my anxiety, I make the extra effort to present my best self and always give 100 percent towards whatever I am working on. My anxiety has guided me to become an independent thinker and a leader. I worry about what can go wrong, think through the outcomes, make educated decisions and now consider myself to be a stronger problem solver.

Living with compassion

Having anxiety has made me a kinder person. Instead of making initial judgments on people as teens are often known to do, I try to get to know everyone and understand what makes them who they are. I am there for my friends and always willing to be there for someone in need, whether it be a classmate, a peer or even a stranger.

While I hope that others don’t have to face the struggles that come with anxiety, should I encounter them, I will be a compassionate listener and friend and always let others know they are not alone.

For tips on coping with anxiety and depression, go to Erika’s Lighthouse Teen Depression Toolbox.

College essay of a 17 year old with anxiety and depression.