On My Way To Freedom

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

I walked from class to the T stop with a heavy feeling in my heart. It was a beautiful day, but I barely noticed except for the sun’s rays beating down on my bare neck. Although I only had two classes with a huge break in between, I still felt tired. And sad. And frustrated. It seemed as if something was out to get me, even if I knew that nothing was going to happen. For some reason, I wanted to cry, but even I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. As usual, I shrugged it off and got on the T. You’re overthinking again, I told myself. Don’t overthink, otherwise you’ll live such a tired life and tire everyone around you as well. Just then, my other voice chimed in.

It’s okay to feel this way. You can’t control your anxiety, so people just have to understand.

Shut up! Voice 1 shouted. Even if you feel this way, it’s not going to solve anything. 

I closed my eyes and tried to silence the voices. I had only just gone to see the school counselor for an assessment yesterday, so I knew that it was going to take some time before I could really work on getting rid of those inner voices. Or, should I say, my inner demons.

Why am I this way?

Ever since I was in middle school, I would write angsty poems and prose. I thought it was just a phase, but I guess it wasn’t. Things remained pretty much the same throughout high school, and I got used to it enough that I didn’t really think twice about getting professional help. After all, everyone felt down sometimes, right? At least, that’s what the people around me said when I complained to them about my problems. To a certain extent, I agreed with them. Nobody likes a downer or someone who’s overly negative, which was what I was becoming. So, I swallowed my problems and only vented to my closest friends. That helped, so I guessed I was fine. College application season came and went, and I got accepted to Boston University, one of my top-choice schools. I was so happy! I swore to myself that I would have a better life there and make tons of new friends. I would party on the weekends and join a bunch of clubs. I told myself I would even find the love of my life in college because those four years were supposed to be full of opportunities for me to really find myself and figure out what I want in life. Looking back on it now, I did achieve most of what was on my bucket list. I have good friends, I joined a club that offered me a great position, and I found the love of my life. However, my anxiety worsened.

I won’t tell you exactly what went wrong, because the truth is that nothing went wrong. But if nothing was wrong, why did I cry all the time? Why did I feel like I was alone in this battle even if I had people by my side? For a long time, I tried to answer these questions, only to come to the same conclusion each time: loneliness and insecurity.

I know that some of my readers may think that I have a victim mentality as as a result of my overthinking and worrying, but I can assure you that I don’t mean to come across that way, even if it seems that way to you. Truth be told, I actually hate living like I’m not in control of my own mind, and I really and truly feel guilty about tiring the people around me because I constantly seek reassurance and can’t feel secure on my own. As a result, I finally decided that I couldn’t live like this anymore, and sought professional help. I was (and still am) determined to change my life and my fate for the better.

Although I see a million articles on the internet that are meant to be assuring, such as “How Girls With Anxiety Love Differently,” “Why You Can’t Wish Depression Away,” etc. and while I do agree with some of the authors’ points, I still want to live relatively at peace with my mind. So, readers, please don’t pity me or tell me that I shouldn’t change at all because I know that I can be so much more than who I am currently. Now, I may sound like I’m contradicting my earlier article “It’s Okay To Need Someone” – where I emphasized how it’s okay if some people are less secure than others and need someone to provide reassurance – but I believe that even needy people should work on themselves at least a little bit so as not to come off as completely needy and helpless. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand if some people feel like they need an intimate partner in their lives to be happy because I’m the exact same person. However, I also think that even the neediest of people (including myself) should try our best to improve our quality of life so that we can be even one step closer to living at peace with ourselves and with our partners. To do that, we must not be afraid to ask for help and support, but it is ultimately up to us to embark on that journey. As for myself, I will make an effort to trust more in the Lord and do my counseling, as well as continuing to have discussions with people who I’m close with and maintain that strong support system. For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful and pray that the hope will never go away.

I thank all of my friends and especially my love for standing by me through the hard times. I promise to all of you that although I may never be truly secure or free of anxiety, I will always do my best to see the light at the end of the tunnel and race on with the Lord by my side.

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