I Am Not Ashamed Of My Anxiety: Kayla’s Story

Author: Kayla B.

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My name is Kayla Barry and I live with anxiety.

Anxiety has been something I have always dealt with, but it has only become a prominent part of my life within the last few years.

I remember the first time my anxiety really interfered with my life. The night before my first driving lesson I couldn’t sleep, and the next morning I was so tired that I thought I was going to pass out at the wheel. Right before my instructor arrived, it started.

An overwhelming sensation took over my throat and stomach. As I began to dry heave, I felt as though I couldn’t breathe. Tears were rolling down my cheeks as excess fluid from my stomach came up. It would stop abruptly and I would finally let myself believe that all was well again and I was okay. But, then it would happen again and again- even as my driving instructor was waiting outside.

My mom asked if I wanted to reschedule, but I knew I couldn’t. I wiped my mouth and walked outside, my hands shaking. I got into the car. Expecting to break down once again, I readied myself. Yet, everything stopped, all the shaking and the butterflies in my stomach were gone. All I had to do was get in the car and accomplish what I had to do.

My therapist gave me an analogy that if anxiety is allowed in the driver’s seat, then it will control everything. You have to force it to be in the back seat where it doesn’t have as much control. But anxiety never leaves the car, it will always be there. You just have to learn how to control the car and control the anxiety in the back seat.

Dealing with anxiety has been so hard for me these past few years. Medication helps, but it doesn’t make it all go away like I wish it could. It takes time to learn how to deal with anxiety. I am trying to learn how to focus on my breathing when I get anxious to prevent myself from letting the worrisome thoughts take over my mind. I also try to journal, as a way to vent and get all the anxious thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

I have a problem with overthinking everything and always thinking that people are mad at me, so journaling helps calm those thoughts. On paper, I can see these thoughts for what they really are and recognize that what I perceive to be huge problems in my head, are not really problems at all.

Anxiety is a constant struggle because once in awhile I have to avoid hanging out with my friends or going to school for my own health. I was absent one of the first few days of school, because of my constant anxiety. It is something that I am trying to overcome since I don’t want it getting in the way of my education anymore.

If you have anxiety or any other mental illness, please know that you are never alone.

Everyone has something that they struggle with, even if it’s small. No one should be embarrassed if they have something, I know I’m not. I’m proud to face my anxiety every day.

Why am I proud?

Because it makes me who I am. It’s a part of me and something I can’t get rid of. It has given me a voice to help others who are struggling.

– Kayla B.

Photo Credits: The Smoke Signal

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