“Calm down”: the anxiety struggle

Half an hour into class is when that familiar sinking feeling sets in. Sweat begins trickle down the side of your face. Tears begin to form in the corners of your eyes and your breath becomes uneven. Only 30 minutes left until the teacher lets you out for a break. So you try and focus on anything besides the panic. Finally, it’s time for a break. Only problem is that ten minutes is hardly enough time to have a complete breakdown and make it back to class in time, thus the struggle of any anxiety-ridden Los Medanos College student. Maybe it started as something small. You misplaced something and over the course of the day, things just kept going wrong. Maybe something truly traumatic happened – I don’t know your life. Whatever the case may be, it’s perfectly understandable but only to those who know what it’s like.

These attacks can be triggered by traumatic events but can also happen as a result of things that are trivial. Though the physical aspects of this experience are pretty terrible and embarrassing, the worst part might be the paranoia and irrational thinking because these things are often the driving force behind the panic attacks.

One small thing could lead you to believe you are worthless and alone and no matter how hard you try; your best efforts don’t mean anything.

Everyone gets anxious about something at some point in their college careers but some people have an actual condition, disabling them from doing the simplest things.

This generation has been criticized for being too sensitive, and to some degree, I concur. We can be overzealous with the trigger warnings and social media has made it easier to voice our opinions about every problematic thing people say, but this doesn’t justify it.

However, it’s especially important not to marginalize someone who has an anxiety or panic disorder because these conditions can warp the way you see the world, and it doesn’t help when people treat you like everything you feel is invalid just because they don’t understand mental instability.

A lot of people with panic disorder try and hide it because they think that their loved ones will love them less. Though you or your loved ones might mean well, the things that are often said to people are almost reprehensible.

“Calm down” is one of the most infuriating things one can say. If the person could just calm themselves, they wouldn’t have an issue in the first place. Another good one is “you’re just saying/doing this for attention.” Oh Really? Breaking down in public places or feeling some type of way about the situation you’re in is actually really humiliating. No one wants to be huddled in the bathroom stall for hours trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Common sense should tell you not to say things like “it’s in your head” or “grow up.” Some people will flat out ignore the fact that you even have a condition.

I don’t know who raised those people but I thought it was a general rule that people should take care of each other, not criticize them for their mental state. The question is cliché but why do people insist on treating mental illness frivolously? Just because you can’t see the hurt, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

There’s enough research about the physical effects of depression, anxiety attacks and panic disorders to fill up all six pages of this paper.

More college students in recent years have been seeking treatment for anxiety. This is understandable given the workload we take on, but we can usually get by until the weekend. However, it’s a little tricky to do that when it’s deeper than just “a little anxiety.” If you have a panic or anxiety disorder, it’s a bit more problematic because these things make it hard to navigate daily life but as alone as you feel in that moment of panic and uncertainty, know that you’ll be okay in a few hours – you just have to find people who are going to treat you like you are more than your anxiety.