My story mainly is about my anxiety from grade 12 onward, but for my entire life, I have been known as the shy kid. Anxiety is something I struggle with daily and I somehow manage to stress over everything and find something to worry about. In grade 12 I definitely took on way too many courses, doing five credits in my last semester - one online, and four in-person. That, combined with my perfectionism when it comes to schoolwork was not a good combination.
The summer before I went into my first year of university I was throwing up frequently due to anxiety and I did not think that university was something I could tackle. Little did I know it was the start of something great. Unlike high school, in university I somehow managed to make so many more friends than I ever imagined I would. Going to university pushed me to become more independent and willing to do the things I would have never pushed myself to do. In high school, I could never even go to the grocery store alone and now I can.
Even to this day, I get extremely uncomfortable when I am put into the spotlight. It was probably late spring of 2019 that I started taking medication for anxiety and I was switching from one kind to the next, never finding one that worked. Now, what did help me was going to a psychotherapist and I learned that self-talk was key and that I am in complete control of my thoughts. Talking to someone about something I thought no one would understand was really difficult, but it seemed like the only thing that seemed to help. You hear everyone telling you to reach out for help, and counseling is something you can try out and not even have to like. I urge anyone struggling with anxiety to just give counseling a try, because what if there’s some small chance that it might be that one thing that gives you a solution.
This past year I first joined Cam’s Kids just as an ambassador, but more recently became a co-lead for Nipissing University/Canadore College’s Cam’s Kids team. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take over a club, but then I remembered what my therapist said. He always said to not avoid situations or opportunities, because pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is the one way people can get better and eliminate anxiety in the long run.
Apart from reaching out and talking about how stressed and anxious I was, I found that going for a walk every day made me feel so much better. When I am outside I forget all of my stressors and reasons to be anxious. It’s something I really just can’t explain, but when I’m inside I feel trapped with my anxiety, and when I’m outside it just disappears. In the winter, snowboarding is one of my favorite outdoor activities, and in the summer I really enjoy camping.
It is really easy to focus on the times where anxiety has taken over my life, but by focusing on the progress I am now happy to say that I see the light at the end of the tunnel to my ongoing struggles with anxiety.