Anxiety

I was never good at math in school but I learned the basics of algebra.

I was taught every step to drafting an essay from start to finish.

I could recite to you four poems I was instructed to memorize and

I could also draw you a picture of the back of that boys head in my English class,

the one I sat behind for a year,

because it was at his head of hair I would stare when I couldn’t breath

but the teacher continued speaking anyway.

It was not her fault. She couldn’t feel my world collapsing.

I can still hear the steady ticking of the clock drowning out the mumble of my classmates,

can still feel my palms getting sweaty when the walls closed in one me –

there was never a class on how to exist in this body.

I was never taught how to breathe when all of the oxygen has been sucked from the room or how to claw these words out of my throat

they tell me it’s anxiety

that I have a problem that can be solved with some breathing techniques and maybe a few pills a day but I still walk down the halls and feel like a ghost of myself

sometimes

I can see myself walking and hear myself talking and feel myself breathing

but I am not there.

They never taught me how to deal with this urge to run

not when the going gets tough but when surviving takes more energy than living.

I can’t walk into a room without scanning the room for exits,

I can’t join a group of people in casual conversation without first convincing myself they don’t hate me,

I can’t ask you how you are because of fear that you’ll return the question.

But at least I can find the value of x.

 

-CM

 

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Dear …

When I was in High School, I remember this one assignment from my English teacher in which we were asked to write a letter to someone we loved and also to someone we were mad at. We were to write it with no intent of this person ever reading the letter – and while originally the assignment seemed ridiculous – it was actually extremely therapeutic. I encourage you to assign yourself this task. Take a minute to think of that one person who made you really angry or hurt you really badly, and write them a letter they will never see. Or think of the one person you love more than anyone else in this world, and write them a letter describing every little thing that draws you to them – they don’t ever have to read it.

For today’s post, my letter is to my middle school self.

Dear 13 year old me,

There is no denying that you are different from your classmates. Don’t even try to fit in, because I’m sorry, but you weren’t born to. You are never going to fit the mold and you are going to learn eventually that for you, that’s a very good thing.

Ignore the bullies. I know how hard this is when they won’t leave you alone and seem to come from every side, but just ignore them. What your parents keep telling you is true; they are just jealous of something you have. Either that, or something is wrong for them at home and for some reason, they have picked you as their target to release the anger that causes. None of this makes it right, but it’s not personal. You are better than them anyway, and one day soon you are going to see this for yourself.

Use the medicine the doctors prescribed to you for your acne. Just use it. It takes two minutes and you’ll thank me later. Just do it.

Stop worrying about the friend’s that back stab you or treat you like a second choice; don’t give them a second thought. Focus on the one girl who has never faltered and who has always been there. You know who I’m talking about. Trust me, in just a few short years it’s going to be very clear who your true friends are and all of this time spent trying to get old friends back is going to seem like a waste of time. You will go to many lengths to keep friends, and that’s what makes you so good, but not everyone will do the same for you. You don’t need those people.

Stop arguing with your sisters so much over the tiniest of problems. Yes, I know, it’s easy to argue, but they are your sisters and you’ll always have them around. When it seems like you have no one else, these girls are always going to have your back. Don’t take them for granted.

Stop. Yelling. At. Your. Parents. Trust me. When you’re out living on your own, it’s your mom and dad that are going to be answering the phone at nine o’clock at night to hear you ramble and answer your ridiculous questions, no matter how stupid. So just stop. They are doing their best, and they don’t deserve it. You are very lucky to have such amazing parents.

Stop focusing on the family that doesn’t spend time with you, and focus on the ones that do. You have amazing people in your life. The people that don’t want to be their don’t matter.

Don’t beat yourself up about math class. You’re not going to get any better throughout High School, and that’s okay. You excel in other classes, focus your energy there. You will pass math class, it will be okay. Don’t stress about it so much.

Have fun. Don’t worry about looking silly. These years are going to fly by so fast and you’re going to wish you had taken another minute to swing on the playground and play tag with your friends. Savor these moments before they are gone.

Love,

Me