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Colby’s Story of Managing Anxiety

What have you struggled with? When did it become too much?

Since elementary school I have struggled with anxiety and occasional stress. Every year my anxiety changes because of what’s going on in my life, with friends, school, etc. But I continue to learn how to accept it and learn new ways to help my anxiety and stress.

What kind of support did you get at first? Did it work?

When I was younger I would work myself up so much to the point of panic attacks and meltdowns. I started to go to therapy and it worked/helped a lot. Today I have learned how to accept my anxiety and cope with it. Every day my thoughts and emotions are different but I know how to control them.

Were there any turning points where things really started to change for the better?

I think in middle school I really started to learn what my anxiety meant and why I was feeling certain ways. I started to learn how to deal with it and accept the way I was feeling. I still struggled and had bad days, but I continued to push myself to a point where I could understand what was triggering the anxiety and then navigate how to help myself.

What’s your life like now? What have you been able to accomplish, and what are you working towards?

Now that I am in High School there are new triggers for me, but there are also more resources available to help with anxiety and stress. I feel like I have grown and learned so much since I was younger about how to control my anxiety. For instance, with the current Covid 19 global pandemic, I found my anxiety was heightened and it started to affect me more than usual. I felt like my thoughts were all over the place and I didn’t feel like myself. Instead of letting my feelings run away, I started to journal, meditate, and do yoga/pilates. I swear by those three things. They have had a tremendous impact on my mental wellness and my anxiety. Journaling is an instant release and I recommend doing it before meditating to help clear your mind. Yoga and stretching after you wake up makes your mind and body feel amazing. Pilates is a great low intensity workout that really helps to tone and makes you feel an immediate release after. These things are examples of how I cope with my anxiety and stress. I think the biggest take away from this is that finding what makes you feel good is most important. Especially focusing on what makes you feel right and not what the internet or people in your life are telling you. Ever since I found ways to cope with my anxiety I have taken many risks and fought away my fear. I have taken on many new leadership positions in my town and a fundraiser event. I feel more comfortable standing up in front of crowd. I am still working on fighting my anxiety and fears as well as working towards being more comfortable with public speaking.

What would you say to people who are having a tough time? What’s helped you that you wish you had known earlier

To the people that are having a tough time I would say “You have the power to create change” and “You are right where you need to be.” Those are two really important quotes or affirmations that helped me. I think it is really important to find what works for you ; whether it’s yoga or meditation – something that can help you find a balance. No matter what it is make sure that you do it for yourself. I also think a really important thing to do is love yourself no matter what. It is something that can be really hard to do and something that you have to work for everyday. But it will make a major difference in your life if you work for it.

Since elementary school I have struggled with anxiety and occasional stress. Every year my anxiety changes because of what's going on in my life, with friends, school, etc.

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