Words by Caitlin Yeck
Anxiety has been a struggle for me since I can remember. I know the feeling of anxiety a little too well. I have always been a person of conviction, a person who knows her strengths and confidently speaks her mind. The scariest thing was feeling like I had lost all of these attributes, feeling like I lost myself.
Going off to college was not scary for me, it was exciting. My time at school was fun but I never felt a true connection with the university like my friends did. It was a small college town, so we did small college town things. We would drive 45 minutes to go to the nearest shopping mall. We went to the same bar or same houses every weekend. Ate at the same restaurants. A lot of the “same”. Although I did have fun and I did meet great people, this repetitive lifestyle was slowly but surely driving me to the darkest moments I would ever encounter.
I remember this moment so well because it truly changed my life. I was sitting outside working on a project, the weather was perfect, I was wearing a cute outfit, all was well. Until I felt my stomach drop completely. I felt like someone was holding me under water and I could not come up. When this feeling hit me I could not control my mind, I could not calm down. I ran inside and got in the shower trying to understand what was happening but I just could not. So I did what any college student should do in a time of distress, I called my mom. She was able to give me a sense of normalcy and calmness. Then I hung up, and got on with my day. Then it hit me again. Harder. Scarier. And this pattern repeated itself for weeks maybe months. This feeling of utter confusion and pain. I couldn’t go out anymore with my friends without having an anxiety attack. I never knew when the feeling would come back so I just wanted to stay in my room and deal with it if it came. So that’s what I did. I stopped living until I found ways to cope and heal.
So many people deal with anxiety every day. People just don’t talk about it every day. The word ‘anxiety’ is thrown around in such a casual way that it loses its meaning. I don’t think people fully understand me when I explain to them my issues with anxiety. I don’t think they grasp how bad it can really be. That makes it so much worse because you begin to question whether or not you have merit to feel the way you do. The best advice for dealing with anxiety is to understand that it will not last forever. It will end, there is help out there. Anxiety does not make sense. You cannot find the root to every spike of anxiety you have. You will end up driving yourself crazy. It is okay not to know. All you need to know is that you are not alone.
As a woman in college I have a lot on my plate, just like so many other women. We are all trying to find our way in the world. Our lives are a balancing act. Need a balances between work and school and relationships and trying to find time to be on our own. All of this is not great for staying sane but is really good at inducing anxiety. I don’t want to sound like a “Keep Calm and…” poster but it’s true. We, as women of the future, need to stay keep calm and (insert personal outlet here). When we graduate and move further in our lives and try to create a career there are going to be more and more difficult obstacles. That is a fact. We are going to be oppressed and judged and belittled. As women we will have to work a harder to be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged and we cannot let anxiety keep us down when society is already doing such a great job doing so. Now is the time to learn to deal with our anxiety so we can spend our time breaking that glass ceiling and going the distance, as my grandfather said “Go as far as you can see, when you get there you will be able to see farther.”
Caitlin is a Sophomore at Ohio State University majoring in fashion retail studies. She has been an advocate and fan of Holl and Lane for 2 years now and is excited to be contributing.