Anxiety…in a nutshell

By: Hillary Schulman

I recently read an article called “I’m Not a Moody Bitch, I Just Have Anxiety – Let’s Talk About It.” The writer ripped apart the new book entitled “Moody Bitches,” in which today’s “overly medicated” youth is discussed. She argues that medications can help people if they truly need them, and users should not feel ashamed about it. Nevertheless, I argue that our world creates a stigma for those who choose to medicate for their mental health when instead we ought to celebrate these individuals as they are actually trying to make themselves better.

A subheading of the article reads, “Who goes to a shrink at ten years old?” I’ll tell you who. I did. When I was ten, I wasn’t able to sleep at sleepovers like an average 10-year-old girl. Instead, my poor father would have to pick me up at 2AM. When everyone else would be fast asleep, zipped up in her sleeping bag, I’d be up worrying, “What if I can’t fall asleep?” “What if I don’t wake up?” And it was even worse when my parents would go out for the evening and I stayed at home with a babysitter. “What if something happens to my parents when they’re driving home?” “What if they don’t come home?”

Summer camp became more and more difficult for me. I became a counselor’s worst nightmare. I threw tantrums and cried nightly until I was 15. I was finally able to conquer it by my last summer as a camper. But for some reason, summer after summer, I’d still return to camp. My mom to this day calls it my “what-ifs” just as this author called it her “worries.”

At age 10, my parents sent me to a therapist to discuss the fears and “what ifs” I had when trying to fall asleep, and I was able to get over those hurdles. Still, I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office through my senior year of college.

And then after college something strange happened. My feelings of being in a black hole began to physically manifest themselves in the form of me completely shutting down. I didn’t want to be around people; I would start to cry arbitrarily and indiscriminately. I recognized on my own that something needed fixing: my anxiety. I finally realized I suffered from it and found it manifesting in ways that I could only pinpoint as smaller, more controllable problems.

Let me tell you – it’s rather refreshing to connect through a shared experience with someone I don’t even know. This author talks about breaking through the stigma of taking a medication that you may need to get on with and through your day to day. My current medication is taken on an “as-needed” basis, and I am able to get through each day without interruption.

Medications can do wonders if taken appropriately and in moderation. I am leading a much happier and uninterrupted life on account of the prescription I have been given. I hope that others have the strength to recognize their needs. And I hope those who are quick to judge understand that although some people may or may not take a pill, it does not change the core of their being. They just want to feel better – and that should not be stigmatized.


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