Many of you who know me, may also know I have Autism. What most of you don’t know though, is that I also suffer from a chronic illness called anxiety. Anxiety is an invisible illness that you can’t see in my face or body language or the way I act. It’s an illness that works on the inside. It starts out as a sick feeling in my stomach. The more I worry, the more stressed I become. My anxiety also comes with headaches, and lots of them. I usually see my anxiety come out in stressful situations such as; schoolwork, or arguing with friends or family. As my anxiety builds, it sometimes transforms to anger. Anger that clouds my vision, and creates tension among the ones I love the most. I still struggle with controlling my emotions, but I have found ways to cope with my anxiety.
When I begin to experience signs of anxiety, I try taking long deep breaths. Slowing my breaths and being in control of my breathing helps me to control my emotions. Getting fresh air is also a method I use to calm myself when I’m in an anxious state. Going for walks and taking time to clear my head I can usually realign my emotions. At the height of my anxiety I began to get depressed. I reached out to counselors and although counselling works for many, it wasn’t the right fit for me. I struggled to find an outlet that worked, until my friend mentioned Youth Group. Although the thought of being social caused me to become more anxious, I decided to try it. My nerves began to fade when I recognized many of the kids and teens in the group. The Youth Group brought me new friends that have helped me cope with my anxiety. I also have great adult leaders and friends who also suffer from anxiety, who sit and talk to me about their anxiety and how they cope. It really helps to remind me that I am not alone in this struggle, and I feel better knowing I am not the only one dealing with it. That’s why I decided to share my story, because if there is anyone else out there who feels alone in their struggle like I once did, they can read this knowing they are not alone.