What if I mess up?

What if I embarrass myself?

What if they think I’m weird?

What if I fail the test?

What if things don’t go as planned?

        These are the kinds of questions that run through my head every day. I worry about literally everything. I always place these what-ifs in my head and end up overthinking almost every situation. Then the worry takes away so much of the fun that is a part of my life.

        Story time… Let’s rewind back to spring of my sophomore year. My school that year was doing Man of La Mancha as our musical. I had always wanted to audition for a production at school, but that fear of the unknown stopped me every time. This time was different, though; my friends had finally convinced me to go to the audition. I couldn’t drive at the time, so my mom had to take me. The whole day, all I could think about was the audition, and when it was time to go, I made my mom get there almost two hours early just so I could try and mentally prepare myself for the evening. We sat in the car, as I tried to warm up my voice and make sure I felt ready. When my mom finally forced me to go inside, I was sweating and scared. My heart and my mind were racing, and I felt very nauseated. But as the night went on and I began to make some new friends, my heart slowed down, and I felt much more at ease. That is, until the director told us we would have to sing a solo as part of our audition. All those feelings from earlier came rushing back. My hands started to shake, but at that point, I couldn’t back out. The director handed out sheet music, and we practiced one of the songs from the show together. After singing it several times, he told us to line up on the stage and one at a time sing the song in front of the directors and the other kids auditioning. Again, I couldn’t back out now. I waited until I was one of the last people left and then just went for it. After I was done, I actually felt pretty good about it. We had to sing a couple more songs, and I calmed down and got through it.

Doing that show turned out to be one of the best choices I could have made. It rekindled my love for musical theatre. If I had given in to the voice in my head and not tried out for the show, I never would have reclaimed that love. Something that I’ve learned by dealing with my anxiety is that “the before” part of whatever it is you’re worrying about is always the hardest. My mind always goes to the worst possibility. Before I went to the audition, I felt like I could have had a panic attack, but once I got through that first song, I felt ten times better. Get through “the before,” and usually “the during” and “the after” will be a breeze.

Anxiety is something that has always been a part of my life. Everyone has different ways of coping with it. What I tend to do is keep my mind on different, lighter topics. Take a break from whatever you’re doing and watch that episode of your favorite show you’ve been waiting for, listen to your favorite playlist, find a quiet spot and just close your eyes. Anxiety will always be a part of me and my life, but I’m learning how to control it. If anxiety is something you’re dealing with too, my lovely readers, then find your way of coping and stick to it. Start by finding ten minutes each day to close your eyes and not think about what is around you. Anxiety is a bully, but you don’t have to be its victim. Put it in its place, and relieve yourself from the extra stress it causes.