By Laci Sutton / Staff writer

I have anxiety.

While there are so many stereotypes associated with that word, it’s probably not what you think.

I panic when I walk into a classroom, because it feels like the entire class is staring at me and judging every detail about me.

I feel like I’m going to puke the second a professor mentions speaking in front of the class, in fear of messing up or saying something stupid. I rehearse exactly what I’m going to say at least 20 times before it’s my turn to talk.

My heart stops when I make the slightest mistake in fear that the people in my life will be disappointed in me, and eventually leave[1] .

I have this intense, aggressive voice in my head constantly telling me that I can do better.

While it gives me great motivation at times, it also makes me feel as if none of my work is ever good enough.

My mind jumps from zero to 100 in less than a second over anything even slightly stressful, regardless of how big or how small it may be.

When I was told I was writing a column this week, my heart raced. Many of my fellow staff members would love the opportunity to write a column every week.

I do love writing columns. They’re personal and a chance for me to share my thoughts with many people who would otherwise never hear my voice. But it also terrifies me to let you into my head.

That being said, why pick such a personal topic? You essentially have the freedom to write anything and everything in a column.

I easily could have quit, started the article over, and wrote about something completely different.

I could have chosen not to expose myself to who knows how many strangers.

So why did I choose to continue with this?

I could brush it off and tell you I’m only writing this because my best friend told me to keep going, or because the Collegian adviser told me to share my story.

While that wouldn’t be a total lie, it’s not the full truth. If I’m being honest, I’m writing this for you.

The struggling college student who stumbled upon the Collegian one afternoon.

The stressed faculty member who’s still navigating the uncharted waters of teaching during a pandemic.

I’m writing this to reach out to you and let you know that you’re not alone.

Some days, it feels like nobody understands my mindset. Like I’m overreacting and it’s pathetic. It’s not pathetic.

Read that again.

It’s not pathetic.

Your feelings are valid, no matter how “crazy” or “pointless” they might seem. I guarantee you there is someone else out there who has had the same feelings at least once.

You are not alone.

Your feelings are valid.

Whatever you have going on in your life, whatever negative thoughts your mind is trying to feed you, you are stronger.

You will get through this.

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