I was walking across campus the other day and there wasn't a person in site. I felt my gnawing social anxiety fade away as I immersed myself into my music and the silences between songs.
Unfortunately, my days are rarely ever this peaceful.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression during the spring of my junior year of high school. My aunt had passed away from breast cancer a few months before, as well as my cat the year before. In the time be- tween then and now I somehow managed to graduate high school and make it over halfway through college without giving up entirely.
After going through therapy and giving myself space to grow as a person, I noticed a lighter weight on my shoulders instead of the heavy, crippling dark cloud of hopeless- ness. In its place though is an incomprehensible social anxiety.
Instead of acting like a normal human being, I'd rather stay inside and avoid dealing with other people in fear that I'll say something incoherent and look like an idiot. As you can tell, the social anxiety made a sidekick out of self-doubt. In short, the recent years of my life is synonymous with the groan of Tina Belcher from "Bob's Burgers."
As much as I'd love to live in the woods and contemplate life, I'm not about to Thoreau my life away (get it?).
I realize that I have to combat this overwhelmingly daunting feeling of self-doubt every day. And every day I do this by simply waking up, getting dressed, going to classes, etc. As hard as it may be some days to just leave my room or finish an assignment, it's the everyday things that help me feel more normal.
Also surrounding myself with level-headed people and doing things I enjoy instead of sulking around feeling sorry for myself has helped tremendously.
Not to say that that's what people with anxiety or mood disorders are doing. Depending on the severity of the disorder, lives could be spent nervously sweating through simple greetings or pathetically lying in bed, waiting for the day to pass.
There were times where I kept myself from do something simply because I was afraid of failure or simple human interaction. There were also times where I shoved these fears in the back of my head and did things that later won awards (not to toot my own horn, but literally).
I just need to learn to keep those shoved fears back and persevere onward, as nervously sweaty as I may be.
Tiffany Do is a junior journalism major from San Fransisco, Calif. She can be reached at email@example.com.