My name is Kennedy, most people, (not my mom) call me Ken. When I was 3 years old my dad died of cancer, and from then on it was just me and my mom. She did everything in her power to give me the best life imaginable. Despite her constant support and affection, something was missing.
I was in middle school when it dawned on me my dad wouldn’t be walking me down the aisle on my wedding day. It was a snowball effect. First, it was the wedding day I realized he’d miss, then it was my high school graduation and sending me off to college. I came to the realization I would always feel his absence for any milestone in my life. This epiphany is what highlighted my anxiety.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary medical definition of “Anxiety” is as follows: “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it.” Overall, the definition is pretty accurate, but anxiety is different for every single person. In my opinion, that’s the scariest part.
I have been dealing with anxiety my entire life, but it wasn’t until middle school I realized what it was. That’s what the sudden heat flashes and sweaty palms at the dinner table meant. That’s what the feeling of nausea was anytime I had to spend time away from my mom. It was the irrational thinking someone was living in my basement plotting to kill me in my sleep. Finally, I had a definition for what was going on in my life.
Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point, whether it be the first day of school or the start of a new job or living alone for the first time. People who suffer from anxiety have an overall sense of anxiousness much of the time. It feels as if it never ends. Even when our minds are at ease, we’re most likely overthinking in some way.
I chose to start this column to highlight what it’s like to live with anxiety. Many people have no clue what it’s like to suffer from this mental disorder. It can be absolutely exhausting at times. It can be very difficult to communicate with loved ones about how you’re feeling simply because they just don’t know what it’s like to have anxiety. I want my readers to be able to feel like they can relate in some way, whether you have anxiety or not.
Over the years I have learned self love can help with anxiety, at least for me. Being able to feel 100 percent happy with who I am and the path that I’m on has rendered so much relief to my fear of being judged by society. Once I learned to look in the mirror and view my flaws as things that make me unique, I learned to love myself completely. I no longer feel anxiousness about people’s judgement because it doesn’t matter to me. I slip up sometimes; I’ll be the first to admit that I walk into a room full of people and sometimes instantly feel judged by my facial features or what I’m wearing. I think it is very important to love yourself for all that you are to heighten your potential to do amazing things in this world. I’m not perfect, but I do love myself.
I look forward to learning more about myself and my anxiety while possibly helping others do the same!
Please email me with any questions about anxiety or self love at firstname.lastname@example.org.