Written by QCMHA Co-Chair Maddie Poutissou
Anxiety is a really weird thing. It can be that everything around you and in your life is going great, yet you still have this overwhelming feeling that something is wrong. You feel uneasy, you feel a sense of doom, and it feels like the biggest deal in the world despite you telling yourself that everything is ok. This can be frustrating because it feels like it can come out of nowhere and for no reason.
Many of the feelings described above I have experienced over the past few months despite all the good things that have been happening to me.
Going on exchange was one of the most fun times I have had in my life. I was traveling to new cities every weekend with friends, visiting iconic sites, eating at amazing restaurants and taking in the nightlife across the continent! Yet I couldn’t help but feel worried most of the time. This was incredibly frustrating because after being through lockdowns on and off for two years, I finally felt like I was living life to the fullest. So what was I worrying about? What was wrong?
That’s the thing; there doesn’t
always have to be something intensely wrong to feel this way, and coming to this conclusion can be difficult. As people, we want to feel that we are in control and often want to find the answer to problems, so when we lose this, we start to panic, which creates this cycle or at least for me, of worrying about why I am worrying and so on. (I think you get the idea). Coming home from exchange, I jumped right into work which was also an adjustment as I entered into a more structured weekly routine. I was busy but in a new way and wasn’t giving myself time to relax when I had time off. On the weekend, I would always want to hang out with friends and get the summer Toronto experience that I had missed through covid. Again my anxiety was causing me to worry about needing to make up for lost time. This is finally when I had to face my anxiety head-on.
Through these two big changes in my life and time, I came to terms with learning how to manage my anxiety and take on change in a healthier way. I learned that it’s ok to worry to an extent and push some things in your life to the side when you are having new experiences. But most importantly I learned the importance of checking in with myself and how I was feeling. Entering my fourth year, I know that a lot of changes, as well as highs and lows are coming for me in the near future; however, now knowing my anxiety better, I can take steps to look after myself and work through these changes at my own pace.