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Identity: Anxiety

Joined: 9/29/2014
Posts: 1
When I was young, my family went to Ireland for vacation. I remember going into one of the many little tourist shops and seeing a book that had the quote, “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday” on the cover. Being an elementary student at the time, I didn’t quite understand the intense connection and emotions that I was feeling while contemplating this quote. Keeping the quote with me throughout the years has helped me face my greatest fears and break out of the concrete shell that I put myself in.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had extreme amounts of anxiety. Whether it was raising my hand in class, checking out at a grocery store, or even thinking about the prospect of not waking up in the morning due to some freak accident, I was worried about it to the point where I could hardly function. For most of my life I let this unnatural fear of everyday activities limit me. Change is one of my anxiety triggers and as a military child we moved every three to four years causing the anxiety to get progressively worse. During the first two years of high school is when I struggled the most with it. We had just moved back from Belgium and immediately my father was deployed for the majority of my freshman year. He then got out of the military leaving him without a job for half of my sophomore year. My mom had a stable job but she was distracted half the time by the poor health of my grandparents. All of this combined with a hostile school environment made coping extremely difficult.
When I started my Junior year at a new school I began to disassociate my anxiety with myself. It was no longer what made me who I was; I was. Instead of worrying about what would go wrong if I raised my hand, I raised it. Instead of freaking out about getting on a plane by myself to Europe for a service project, I boarded it. I recognize as I look back at the amazing opportunities that I have had as a military dependent that I haven’t been as thankful for or taken advantage of as many adventures as I should have. However, my attention is on the present and future, not the past. I might always be anxious but I will also always have choices and the ability to make the right ones.
I’m not exactly sure what choices I will make in the future: however, I am finding ways to conquer my anxiety by focusing on my interest in studying not just human nature but also the ways that people interact to make strong communities and societies. My experiences from living overseas are still clear in my mind and while my anxiety might have limited the amount that they influenced me at the time, I will move forward and use these experiences to mold and shape my future.
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