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Anxiety Chronicles is a series from The Lily that examines the journeys different women have with anxiety.

This week, we hear from Kayla.

Interested in contributing to a future installment of Anxiety Chronicles? Fill out this form.

My history with anxiety

My anxiety is tied to how I was a sensitive child at birth. My blood rushes a little too fast, my brain buzzes with thoughts a little too quick, and my lungs try to breathe in too fast. But it doesn’t just happen once. It happened and continues to happen all the time.

How anxiety presents itself physically

My legs and hands twitch, my blood boils and my body heats up. When this kind of anxiety attack occurs, I have difficulty standing up, speaking, and even performing basic tasks. There is no coordination or concentration. The hot flashes and migraines create a mix of confusion and fear that causes me to scream and vomit.

How anxiety presents itself mentally

No one understands the paranoia, the constant fret of being placed under an awkward situation, and the fears that I associate with being worthless. My mind is numb and I can’t focus on all the stimuli that is being splashed onto me. I’m scared. Not just scared of the external factors that trigger me, but also of myself.

My go-to coping mechanism

When I am in a tough position, I constantly dream about a second life: one where the teachers are accepting, the friends I have are caring, and that I am financially stable living in Western Europe. I will incorporate these dreams into normal classroom settings (you can see me oddly whispering to myself) or even implementing dance and music, rhythmically fitting a pattern of fake confidence. Unfortunately, this “solution” can also lead to more pain. I’m recently trying to talk to people I trust, but it’s all a learning process. While I am still not used to it, hopefully talking to an adult can help me.

What I wish people knew about anxiety

Anxiety is so hard. It takes a lot of resilience and patience to tell yourself “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” And although it is a normal bodily response, continuously having anxiety is not normal. People should go to a psychiatrist and should go to therapy if they know that they have these kinds of thoughts. It doesn’t make you crazy. It makes you a survivor on so many levels. But the outcomes make you realize that what you go through is what makes you self reflective, empathetic and caring to other people.

This is what helps with my anxiety: ‘Giving people the opportunity to understand’

I’m trying to talk more openly about my ongoing struggles

Positive affirmations and playing solitaire: This is what helps with my anxiety

The presence of anxiety is a constant in my life