Anxiety and the Fear of Public Speaking

When I was in highschool, the thought of public speaking made me want to throw up. I would stress and panic over it and I would be nauseous all day. I would shake and nearly cry at the thought of having to get in front of a classroom to present whatever it was that I had to do. The more I got my anxiety under control, the easier it got, but I still struggle with it to an intense degree.

To get my college degree, I am required to take a business and professional speaking class. I would be lying if I said I jumped at the opportunity to take it right away – as I am currently taking it in my junior year. I thought that the class would help me immensely but the anxiety remains. I still am nervous to a high extent, I still nearly throw up each time I go to present, and I still shake terribly. I am not as stressed before going up to present, but it is during the presentation and after that gets to me. Sure, I am becoming more comfortable with talking in front of a group of people, but the anxiety remains.
So you might be asking: How does an anxious person get comfortable with presenting in front of a group? The short answer is: you don’t.

Those of us with anxiety are obsessive. We want everything to be perfect to the point it plagues our minds. We stress out over every ‘um’ and the thought of stumbling and fumbling over notes in front of everyone makes us anxious. The presentation I had to give last Thursday was a required PowerPoint. You want to know what made me the most anxious? The thought of getting up in front of the class and starting my PowerPoint the wrong way. I stressed about hitting the stupid ‘start presentation from the beginning’ button. I stressed about whether I should email it to myself or I should put it on a flash drive. But what if the flash drive didn’t work? What if the class saw the start to some of my emails? Was my presentation informative enough? Maybe I should’ve done an easier topic. Is the presentation too intense for some people?

I have gotten to the point now that telling myself that everyone else in the room is nervous doesn’t help. People telling me that they too are nervous doesn’t make me feel any better. Meditation doesn’t work. I have gotten to the point now where I just have accepted the fact that public speaking is unavoidable. I’ve gotten to the point where I just need to be one of the first presenters, get it out of the way, and return to the back of the room to stress over everything that went wrong. It has been four days since my presentation and I’m still stressed about it.

Being a good public speaker doesn’t happen overnight. A public speaking class doesn’t mean you’re willingly going to jump at the opportunity to speak in front of the class. Being anxiety ridden and obsessive equals out to you just having to find a way to be comfortable. Maybe that means going first and getting it out of the way. Maybe that means going last and leaving it in the past the moment you sit back down. Maybe its hours of prep work beforehand (or none at all).

Being anxious doesn’t mean you are a horrible public speaker – as most people can’t even tell I have anxiety when I speak. It just means that you have to push your boundaries and make it so that you are comfortable. Find what makes you comfortable. Remember that every speech has a beginning but also must have an end. That being said, once you start you are that much closer to being done and sitting back in your comfort zone.

Vulnerabilities Part 2

Whenever I first started therapy in my junior year of high school, now 4 years ago, I was embarrassed to say I started therapy. I didn’t want to go to begin with, but as I’ve continued my mental health journey I got more comfortable with sharing my life story. That being said, I’ve become very open and have encouraged people to start therapy. I am the first to start stories with “So in therapy the other day…” or “My therapist said…” I have become someone that is transparent about my struggles and about my mental health journey – and have truly become a mental health advocate. I’ve posted on Facebook about my struggles, and hell, I’ve dedicated an entire blog to my anxiety.

All of that being said – I am still vulnerable.

Yesterday I had to do a presentation in my Business and Professional Speaking class. Yes, you read that correctly. I identify myself as an anxiety ridden little bean, and yet I’m in a class where I have to speak in front of other students. That statement alone shows how much I’ve improved in four years’ time, considering my senior year of high school I had to deliver a small speech from Great Gatsby and nearly threw up. Anyways, whenever it came down to choose a topic, I decided to talk about my anxiety.

Going up to it I was super confident, my professor was eager to hear what I had to say, I talked about it with my therapist, and I felt like it was a really good topic. Making the PowerPoint proved to be difficult, but while practicing my speech I was finishing around 8 minutes – over the set time limit. With a flash drive in hand, I wasn’t nervous until I sat down in my class and looked around at the other students. What would they think of me? How would I go to class afterwards with everyone knowing I have a mental disorder? Would they think differently? I have slowly grown with this class of 12 students, and yet, I was being so raw and open with a group of strangers. Sure, I had other classes with some of the other kids, but they didn’t know me.

When it came time to present – nothing was helping. Breathing techniques, meditation, telling myself that every other person was also nervous, absolutely nothing. By the time I got up to present, my hands were shaking as I turned in my notes to my professor, anytime I pointed to the board my hands visibly shook with fear, and my voice stuttered the entire time. I rushed it so much that I was below the required time frame of the speech by several seconds. What turned into a speech that could be stretched to 7 minutes and 51 seconds turned into a rushed and anxious speech ending in 5 minutes 55 seconds. I felt as though I was going to vomit and felt extremely anxious before, during, and after the presentation.

I don’t regret it in the slightest.

I got to open up my journey to a class of only 12 students. I got to tell them about my struggles. I shared photos of me dancing on stage and showed pictures of my picked to shit fingers after an anxiety episode. I was open. It was raw. It was me showing my demons to the classroom. It wasn’t easy, but it was vulnerable. I could’ve talked about the history of ballet class, I could’ve talked about how to sew pointe shoes. Instead I showed my struggles. In my research statistics show that someone, if not several, of those students needed to hear what I had to say. They needed me to come out and be vulnerable, if not for me, then for themselves.

Being vulnerable is in no way easy. It is not a walk in the park. I did it with shaking hands, busted up fingers from picking, and a speech shorter than the 6-8 minutes required. But I did it. I opened the room up for discussion. I helped open the eyes to students to show that even ‘normal’ students struggle, and hopefully I made those people realize that they weren’t alone.

Why Being Lonely Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

The only person that truly knows you is you.

How can we be expected to love someone else whenever we don’t know what it takes to love ourselves?

For many years I would cry due to the fact that I was an outcast – that I was so lonely. I would cry saying I wasn’t going to have many stories to tell my kids whenever I was older and that I would regret sitting at home all the time. In high school, I wasn’t like most teenagers. Drinking and football games had no appeal to me, I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, I had two to three friends total, and so on. I had labeled myself as an outcast and I hated it. I cried and wished to be ‘normal’.

I struggled with being alone – so much so that I would sit at a lunch table with people I didn’t like just to avoid sitting by myself and looking like a ‘loner’. Even though I looked at other people doing things on their own as a bad thing, I also secretly wished that I had the nerve do just do things on my own.

Flash forward to now, I enjoy going to the movies by myself and I prefer doing things on my own. Whether that is gym-going or shopping, or the occasional concert by myself.

Being lonely doesn’t always have to be a bad thing or a negative character trait.

Whenever you are alone you don’t have to worry about anything or anyone else other than yourself. When you do something on your own, you are using that alone time to recharge your batteries that burn out when you are putting all of your energy into other people.

Doing events by yourself such as going to the movies or going to concerts takes away the possibility of being held back. Maybe if you go on your own you wouldn’t be fifteen minutes late to your favorite movies, or maybe you could get that spot a bit closer to the stage (or further away). Being alone opens up the opportunities to meet new people and to be comfortable with your loneliness.

We live every day in constant social situations. Whether that be work, school, shopping, dining out, you name it. Everywhere you go you are put in situations that slowly drain the battery that keeps you going. It is alright to take time for yourself to be an independent person and to enjoy your alone time.

So go to that concert that no one else wants to go to. Go enjoy that amusement park or ride that no one else wants to ride. Go enjoy a movie where you can work on your own timing and have a whole bag of popcorn to yourself.

Don’t be afraid to live a life of loneliness – because once you stop worrying about everyone else, you can start to live a life of experiences made for you.

Because someday someone will look at you and be inspired by your courage to do things on your own.

What I’ve learned

In a year of blogging I’ve learned that writing is a great stress relief for me. In a year of blogging I’ve learned that you can be strong and independent – but at the same time still be weighed down by a controlling and toxic relationship. I’ve learned that some things just aren’t worth posting about – that some victories and frustrations are just better left unsaid. I’ve learned that keeping quiet is sometimes the best response you can have.

I haven’t been the most consistent when it comes to posting on this blog. I’ve had bursts of inspiration – so much so that I created an instagram page for this blog. I’d feel this excitement – only to be weighed down by exhaustion after I smacked into the wall of writers block. Today my WordPress membership has been renewed for an entire year.

I am uncertain as to where my future with aberrations lies – but I know you will be there with me.

An Explanation

My last blog post was written about the television series You. At that point I was “on a roll” of sorts where I was posting rather frequently, had posts lined up and scheduled, and life was going smoothly.

I am still positive, and life is still going smoothly, don’t worry.

Life just has the tendency of getting in the way of things. I am uncertain on if I talked about my work life before or not, but I work three jobs. I am taking a total of 18 credits this semester and aligned my classes so that I go through my days without any breaks until my last class ends and I go home. Whenever classes schedule exams, some days I can have as many as two exams back to back, then another two on Wednesday, followed by another one on Friday. If I wasn’t dealing with exams I was dealing with homework and if I wasn’t dealing with homework, then I was working or dancing. Just in the past week we had a death in the family. Due to my mental health, it brought up a lot of bad feelings to be back in the funeral home again.

Life can be very exhausting at points but in the words of one of my favorite characters in literacy, “Life doesn’t slow down for anybody.”

Over the past few days I have been feeling the desire to write again – and to keep at it. I know it has been said by me before.

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer. If I could have one wish that would be granted – that would be it. As an adult now, I still would love to be a writer I just need to make time to do so.

This isn’t a blog post to fill up my page with excuses, it is just an answer as to where I have been the past few weeks.

Expect more content from me soon.

Lets talk about YOU – and the red flags YOU’re not seeing.

It is the new series that everyone has been talking about.

It is the show that I started watching around two weeks ago because one person suggested it – and now everyone else seems to be watching it too.

It is the TV series known simply as YOU  is about a simple normal dude who works in a bookstore and quickly becomes obsessed with a customer who happens to wander in – and that is putting it simply.

Very quickly while watching the show I found myself in a very confusing set of emotions. While Beck was digging through his “secret hiding spot”, I kept begging her silently to just stop –  and then I realized just what I was saying. Why was I rooting for a guy like Joe, after all he had done?

Joes character isn’t the stereotypical man in a trench coat walking down a dark alley way.

Joe is an average guy – attractive (but no body building sports model), educated (seemingly), works a normal job, isn’t attached to his cell phone or social media (but uses it in very different ways haha), and lives in a normal apartment. We see the entirety of the show through his eyes and through his voice – we grow with him, we see him struggle, and slowly see him lose his sanity.

Joe, while very obviously isn’t a good guy and we know this by the first episode, doesn’t immediately show his manipulative tactics to Beck. Then once he gets crazier, she refuses to take note or to leave him – permanently. These are the spirals that many women (and men) fall into. One where they do not realize they are being manipulated until it is too late or until long after the fact and they have time to reflect on the experience they went through.

It wasn’t until I had experienced many failed relationships (both friendships and romantic ones) that I escaped from that I noticed the exact same tactics that were once used on me are being used by Joe in YOU. These are the signs that sort of hit you and you can say “Yeah. I know what that feels like.” And it is the sad truth – a truth that is hard for me to admit.

What is important to note is that it doesn’t always have to be an abuser isolating their spouse from friends and family. In fact, it can be the exact opposite.

In the show we can see Joe even going out to lunch and meeting up with Becks friends, sometimes without Beck even there (so much so that it doesn’t seem unusual whenever he comes to them at the end of the season). He seemed obsessed in the first few episodes with getting close with them – “For you, Beck” he would say.

An abuser doesn’t need to tell you that you can’t talk to your friends and family for it to be isolation. In fact, they can get so close to the people you love most and they will be able to see no wrong in your abuser, or simply refuse to believe the idea that they could “ever be like that”. This is sometimes how an abuser works – isolating you to the point that you feel like no one would believe what you said, anyways.

One of the biggest red flags I can remember specifically hitting me in the gut was whenever Beck and Joe got into a big fight towards the end of the season.  After all was somewhat forgiven, Joe took Beck to meet the father figure in his life and to meet an important person to him – the bookstore owner. (He also brought her downstairs to the cage early in the season to give her the whole “this is who I am and this is my home monologue.

Of course, for those who haven’t been through similar experiences, it seems like a kind gesture. Maybe it was, but knowing Joe, it was a manipulative tactic – one that I have experienced way too many times.

Manipulators can use things like taking you to their “most special places”, gift giving, emotional apologies, etc to not only put you in a vulnerable position, but to also get you to sympathize with the person that is most dangerous to you – your manipulator. You not only feel special in the moment but whenever they play these cards you feel sorry for your manipulator and you sympathize with them. I mean, how can I leave him now if he just took you to his secret place? How can I leave them if they just bought me all these nice things?

Manipulation doesn’t always have to be your manipulator throwing a pity party for themselves so much that you don’t go out with your friends. Manipulation doesn’t always have to be withholding affection or money for the manipulator to get what they want.

Manipulation is shielded stealthily by “If you don’t do this then you don’t really love me.”, and “I’m not telling you what to do… but it would really mean a lot to me if you…”, and “Let me just take you to this place I’ve been wanting to take you since we met – it’s the most important place in the world to me. Then we can continue this discussion after I’ve taken you there.”

Manipulators are the most charming people out there – the people you least suspect. They don’t always have to be a dark and mysterious figure hiding under a hood. They don’t always have to be that kid in school that no one really talks to. They can be a plain Jane and average Joe. Just like anyone can be emotionally manipulated everyday – and you would never know.

While I am saying this – please note that I am NOT saying that if significant other is close to your friends and likes taking you to special places he is automatically an emotional manipulator. There is a lot of good in the world – but also a lot of bad and red flags in an already unhealthy relationship are always good to be mentioned.

While I think it is interesting that YOU has opened up a world of discussion about why we shouldn’t support characters like Joe, I think the most important thing that this show can do is open up a world of discussion.

Maybe the show, or this post, is the wake up call someone needs to realize they need to get out of the situation they are in. The quicker you realize the red flags, the quicker you can use your resources to get out and to escape.


If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence or abuse, you can seek help by calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

 

Healthy Boundaries and Why They Are Important

bound·a·ry
noun
a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

Not every person in this world is out to take advantage of you. Very few people wake up in the morning with the intentions being to hurt us and to pass over our boundaries.

Boundaries.

When is enough, enough?

How do we know and understand the threshold of the line we set for ourselves and for others?

Deciding your boundaries is always a long process with a lot of blurred lines.

It is looking at a toxic relationship (friendship, romantic, or family), knowing that your boundaries were violated, and trying to decide where and when the line was crossed and how you will prevent it from happening to you again. Sometimes, you need to have your boundaries overstepped many times before you are fully capable of understanding just what your boundaries are and locating the exact feelings you experienced whenever someone crossed the line you had set for them.

Then whenever that line is crossed over, you know the familiar feeling of  being irritated, violated, and you know what you need to do from then on to either terminate the relationship or at the very least state how and why your boundaries were crossed – and what that person needs to do in order to avoid it from happening again.

It is hard for a person to know your boundaries if you do not verbally state them. Unfortunately, even if you set your boundaries early on and you continue to let small maneuvers over the boundary line pass, eventually you will only be left feeling violated but also feeling as though you have no control over what is okay and what isn’t.

Boundary setting is one of the most important lines to set in a relationship – no matter how major or minor that relationship may be.

It is not only important in a relationship – but an important movement to be made to ensure that we as humans remain happy and remain stable in what we stand for and what we don’t.

In many relationships I allowed people that were close to me to violate my boundaries. Most commonly, though, I was never clear about how much it upset me until way down the line. In their defense, it is impossible for them to know that they hurt me in that way if I never told them it upset me to begin with.

It is hard for those of us to set boundaries with other people. As long as they aren’t hurting us, it’s alright to let it slide, right?

That is when the vicious cycle begins.

We have mental boundaries set, someone crosses them, we keep silent about it, we have a build up of emotion, a fight breaks out and emotions are tense and feelings are hurt, and then the cycle continues whenever we let it pass again.

Maybe it is fear that keeps us quiet.

Maybe we think that the original line that was crossed was not that big of a deal.

Maybe those of us with anxiety just cannot speak up about their emotions.

No matter what the problem is – learning how to set boundaries, and doing it vocally (and meaning it), is an important building block to being happy.

So set your boundaries. And mean it.

Don’t let anyone cross them – no matter what the reasoning is.

If a person leaves you feeling violated, like no matter what you say – things will never change, leave you feeling upset, like you have no control – it is time to terminate the friendship, relationship, etc.

You are the most important person and keeping yourself healthy and happy is forever supposed to be your number one thing of importance.

Me Minus Anxiety – Who Am I, Really?

What I wouldn’t give to be normal. To live in that bubble, the reality of the naive.

What would my life look like without anxiety?

How much would be different?

What would change?

This is a question I have asked myself time and time again. However, I can never come to a real answer.

Maybe I would have more friends, maybe I would go out more, and maybe I wouldn’t be afraid to speak in public. Maybe my schedule would be filled with less appointments with different doctors for different reasons. Maybe my grades would be better, and I wouldn’t stress myself out before exams and maybe I wouldn’t pick my fingers until they are bloodied, gross, and running the risk of infection.  Maybe I wouldn’t sit in silence for hours on end – not knowing how to contribute to a conversation. Maybe the fear of making myself look dumb wouldn’t exist.

Back whenever I feared going into gas stations and before whenever I was scared of leaving my home, I would ask myself the same question and come up with nearly the same possibilities. Maybe I would’ve been able to walk into the store later at night to get the ice cream I was craving. Maybe I would’ve been fine to walk into the bank and do a cash deposit instead of waiting in the way longer line at the atm in my car.

I have struggled with anxiety since I was a little girl. It only came to a dramatic point whenever I was in high school. At that point in time I knew anxiety was apart of my identity. It was a character trait. It was a character flaw. I related to the quote that said, “I am anxiety, fear, and panic”.

So, yes, anxiety has been in my life for a long time. I was an anxious seven-year-old, an even more anxious high school student, and expected it to sort of just disappear in college. If it was in my life for so long and apart of my identity for so long… who am I without it?

I have come to realize now – anxiety is not apart of my identity. Yes, I am a college student and yes I have severe anxiety.

Because, after all, my blog posts are mainly about anxiety. My very first blog post ever is titled “The A word”, where I then begin to describe what anxiety is and what an aberration is.

Who am I though?

I’m a full-time student and I work three jobs that I love. I am an avid concert goer. I am a movie guru. I am someone that has a small quantity of true friends – those that I don’t see often. I am a girl who has a lot of internet friends and spends too much time on YouTube. I love nerdy things and also love makeup. I love sitting and gaming. I am a hard worker – even with my anxiety flaring up. I am honest and compassionate – with the tendency to put everyone’s needs before my own. Sometimes I care too much about what others think and other times I care too little.

I am not anxiety and I am not panic. My life story is not going to go down as the girl with anxiety.

Anxiety does live within me and I have known her well. Anxiety can sometimes be an extension of my personality – but it will never describe me. At the end of the day I am still the busy, hard working, full time student, who also loves to dance, go to concerts, meet like minded people, and be free spirited.

 

Rejuvenated

My writing no longer feels as though it is being forced out of my hands and onto paper (or keyboards).

I am no longer feeling as though I wasted money on a writing platform that I am never going to use like I anticipated to.

I no longer feel as though my blog page is a cluster of bad writing that jumps from talking about anxiety all the way to writing random fiction pieces.

For the longest time I wanted to post my pieces to Facebook proudly, knowing that my best work was being shown to friends and family. I wanted to share my blog in writing groups, to try to get my writing out into the world. I, however, was held back by the never-ending sheet of fear that would wash over me on the daily.

I belong to several blogger pages on Facebook and all the time see people sharing links to their blogs for others to read. I have always wanted to do that but I kept holding myself back from doing so. I had the fear that they would click on the link and the first post they saw was going to be my most recent post, one that I wasn’t a fan of and didn’t feel proud of, hate it, and click off. I was obsessed with coming up with the most perfect “home page blog post” so that I could finally post in the groups about my blog and not feel embarrassed to do so.

I also found myself posting on my blog and not writing to Facebook about it. I felt pressured to put out content, even if it wasn’t any good, to at least get my money’s worth and to feel like I wasn’t wasting money that I used to put into the WordPress account and page I created. I wouldn’t tell family and friends about the posts I wrote because I felt like they weren’t any good and I didn’t want them to read it and silently laugh at me.

“I somehow missed the few posts before your most recent one!” people would tell me.

I hated how my blog post was looking, was sounding, and I hated not knowing what my next post would be about.

I felt embarrassed that I went through the trouble of not only buying a WordPress account and not getting any use out of it, but also felt embarrassed that I created an ‘aberrations’ Instagram page that for a long time felt as though it was going to just fade away into the background for someone to find and laugh at the failure of the account (You can definitely still follow that if you want to haha).

I have only been blogging since August, but it really has felt like way longer.

For the first several months I had no idea what direction I wanted to take, who my audience was, and what my plans for the future of the blog was.

My therapist even asked me at my last appointment “Who is your audience and what do you want them to look like?”

To be honest, I still have no idea what any of the answers are – but I am trying to find them and am willing to ride out the process and enjoy the journey.

I feel rejuvenated.

I feel like a little kid – excited and proud to have “scheduled” posts ready to go up in the future. It is funny how some of those things make you feel so organized and make you feel like professional.

My blog may not be perfect. I still use way too many tags and categories.

My posts may not be fluent.

My spelling may be horrible. My punctuation is awful as I still use too many commas and dashes.

I am however trying. A new breath of life has been breathed into me at the start of this year and I am excited to go through the learning process to see what the world has to offer me.

Your Nerves are not the Same as My Anxiety

“Yeah, I get anxiety sometimes before job interviews and stuff, it sucks!”

“Everyone gets a little anxious sometimes!”

“Omg, seeing my ex totally gives me panic attacks lol.”

The term anxiety is often at times thrown about carelessly and almost unknowingly to those that do not understand what it is like to live with it on the daily.

What the “anxiety” to an average person feels like would most likely be as follows:

  • The nerves that twist at your stomach and almost make you feel as though you are going to throw up.
  • The moments where it feels as though your heart picks up several beats a minute.
  • Sweaty palms before an interview.
  • The feeling as though you cannot sit down or keep still.
  • An uneasy mind
  • A disturbed sleep cycle.

These are just to name a few of the things that take place before a big presentation, an interview, a first date, and so on. After it is over though, you are most likely not going to be feeling these symptoms again until the next big event that takes place, until the next presentation, until the next first date, etc.

This is what those of us with anxiety disorder feel every single day – times ten.

Now while I do not want to make it seem as though I am invalidating people that have very real and very scary symptoms of nerves and anxiety, I do find it hard to feel sympathy for those that get nervous every once and awhile and pass it off as anxiety.

For many years, I was getting nauseous on the daily. No matter what I ate – whether it was vegetables, gluten free foods, greasy foods, etc. – I was getting sick to the point of almost vomiting. Sometimes it didn’t even matter if I ate five minutes ago or two hours ago, almost every night I felt as though I was going to throw up everything in my stomach.  After several visits to GI specialists, a few scopes, scans of my gallbladder, food journals, and other forms of tests – they could not find anything wrong with me.

It was only after therapy that my stomach issues slowly dissipated far into the past – to the point that I sometimes forget about the period of 3 to 4 years that I spent feeling nauseated.

I had no idea that anxiety could affect the body to that degree and that badly.

In my worst anxiety times I would pick my fingers so badly to the point that I would have to wear socks on my hands to stop picking. Wearing nail polish never helped as it was another thing for me to pick and peel off of my nails. It would get even worse if it was finals week or if report cards were about to come out.

At my worst point, I couldn’t go into gas stations or convenience stores – my irrational anxiety brain telling me that there would be a shooting or robbery if I went in. You could forget the chances of me going into movie theaters, too. It got so bad that everywhere was dangerous to me – from gas stations to a Subway sandwich shop.  I wanted to be placed near the exits at restaurants so that I could run out the door if something were to happen and at every concert, I went to I had several plans of escape if a threat were to enter.

That was the way my anxiety brain worked. I knew that at every concert I went to that every person got checked by security, their bags were checked, and they were patted down – but my anxiety and fight or flight brains were confused by the amount of fear that I placed into my body. Everybody was a suspect and no place was safe.

This was how I lived for a very long time and still have the tendencies to get “sketched out” in situations that I am not used to.

I for many years struggled – and struggled terribly with anxiety. I wasn’t going out with friends, I was a home body to an unnatural sense,  I was having anxiety attacks weekly, and I was literally making myself sick with anxiety.

I overcame a lot of struggles to get where I am now.

So yes, the quickened heart rate, sweaty palms, the tendency to bite your fingers, and your uneven breaths are all normal to feel before events like tests, presentations, job interviews, exams, etc. Your nerves are not anxiety.

In a world where mental disorders such as Bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety are “aesthetically pleasing” for a Tumblr layout or a funny tweet, it is hard to take mental illness seriously.

It is important that we note that anxiety, true anxiety, is not the same as feeling nervous for an hour or two (or even a day) once in a while.

Anxiety is very real and very scary but also should not be confused with every day nerves.