Anxiety is something many struggle with throughout their lifetime. However, not many mention it. Not many choose to be vulnerable. Although, in ignoring it, it begins to consume everyday life, taking away opportunities as it weighs you down. Emotions are heightened, judgments are clouded, insecurities are raised. Anxiety is real, and it does, in fact, have the power to take a hold of your life.
I’ve been dealing with anxiety for most of my life; although, it started becoming a bigger issue when I was a junior in high school. My anxiety was triggered by a life-altering family issue, that still hasn’t been settled to this day. However, throughout the duration of my high school experience, I handled it. This was only possible as I had a strong support system of family and friends surrounding me constantly. I grew as a person, becoming much more outgoing, as well as more understanding of other people.
When I got to Master’s in the fall of 2018, full of optimism, I soon realized how completely different life was. The shift in lifestyles hit me like a train, knocked me down and I found it difficult to get back up. I realized how alone I was, and the new environment created tons of new insecurities. Thankfully, I had my cousin with me, supporting and encouraging me. She, too, struggled with insecurities, yet in different ways. With our mutual understanding of one another, we continued to remain hopeful and optimistic.
Beginning the second semester of my freshman year at TMU, the family issue that started almost two years prior, began again. Yet, this time things were much worse. This particular semester is what spiked my anxiety for the rest of my college experience. I had already been struggling with identity but trying to navigate my way through finding it; however, this set me back. I was completely living in my head, which was a whirlwind of negative thoughts. The devil got a hold on me and I couldn’t shake him.
As time moved forward, I made it through freshman and sophomore year. Although, there was no growth within myself that I could see. My life seemed completely stagnant, and I was allowing anxiety to live in me. It was almost as if I accepted it as my fate. Now, despite this, my struggles didn’t completely turn my life upside-down. I still had the Lord; I still had my friends and family. I still recognized my blessings and was incredibly thankful.
Home was where I found my comfort. It was where my anxiety decreased, and I was able to find peace. Whenever it was time to return to college, I didn’t want to go. I was fearful of falling back into a negative headspace and not knowing how to navigate my way out of it.
Spring semester of junior year. It’s sometimes difficult to look back on moments like these, yet everything happens according to the Lord’s will. These couple months were the hardest I’ve endured. I was in the worst place, mentally, that I have ever been in. My anxiety levels skyrocketed and began to affect me physically. I tried to handle everything on my own and refused to be completely honest with how I was doing. I was lying to myself.
As the year ended, however, I left feeling hopeful for my final year at TMU, which I later recognized would be my final semester, in the fall of 2021. There were no more expectations left within me and I began working with the Lord, and allowing Him to take over my anxiety, as 1 Peter 5:7 states.
He had transformed me completely.
My intention on writing this and allowing myself to be vulnerably honest, is not to place blame on anyone or anything. Though my college experience didn’t go as I had hoped when I was 18, I now recognize the maturity in myself that came out of it. Master’s was a blessing in disguise. The Lord used it in my life for me to grow as a person, both spiritually and mentally.
The spirituality that lives on campus helped me immensely, as well as the support I had from professors. I truthfully couldn’t have asked for a better place to struggle. The truth of Scripture was always around me, and without being at Master’s, I don’t know how long it would’ve taken me to reach out to God and ask Him for help.
My defeats and difficulties in college have humbled me, and I write this as encouragement to anyone else possibly dealing with the same thing. Anyone who feels bitterness towards the university or the people that encompass it. Anyone who finds it hard to decipher between what is truly right and wrong. Anyone who has a hard time getting out of their head. I’ve been there — for so long.
It seems never-ending, yet it does end. Placing complete trust in the Lord is absolutely the only way to maneuver through it, although even that takes time. Mental health is no joke, as much as some may downplay the severity of it. Yet, despite how crippling it can be, life is so worth sticking it through. God allows everything to happen for a reason, but it might take a long time to figure out what His reasoning is. I don’t know about you, but I sure was glad I found out.
There is so much hope in life. There is so much to be thankful for and I kid you not, living through these past couple years, I have found the extreme importance of counting your blessings and finding joy in the littlest things. Find the positivity in your negativities.
I still have much more growth to do, and anxiety still creeps up on me sometimes, but I am nowhere near where I was- and I only have the Lord to thank for that. Don’t rest in your anxiety; find courage and work through it. Find the courage to beg the Lord to help you, and surround yourself with god-fearing people.
Everything must circle back to Christ, because without Him, life will always be a constant battle.