Anxiety: My Out-of-Body Experience

I’m still shaking. It’s hard to write right now because my hands and fingers feel weak and numb. I went to school this morning and got a coffee -as I usually do- and proceeded to my English class. To give some context, we are currently nine weeks into the semester, and we haven’t received a single grade back from this class. We handed in essays on literature a month ago, and I’ve been nervous about my grade ever since. I spent a total of about 15 hours working on and revising this essay, but I never felt it was quite right. Well, today we found out that we won’t be getting our essays back until next week, however the professor did inform us that she was not impressed with any of the essays she’s read so far. I immediately went into panic mode.

As I suffer from extreme anxiety, finding out that there’s a slim chance that I did well on an assignment but having to go an entire week without knowing for sure is absolute torture. I couldn’t concentrate all class. I felt shaky and my skin felt hot and flushed and sweaty. I could barely speak or focus on the conversation, even though I’m usually one of the most participatory students in this class. I actually felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. The world around me faded away and all I could hear was a ringing white noise in my ears. I felt as if I was floating. I think this is one way that the body protects itself when faced with extreme fear. For me, anxiety is like being in a prolonged state of extreme fear. Sometimes you know what you are afraid of (in this case I’m terrified of failing), and sometimes you don’t. All you can do is breathe deeply and hope that it passes.

All of this being said, I have decided to cut coffee out of my daily routine. I find that it contributes greatly to my anxiety and the costs are beginning to outweigh the benefits. The combination of fear-induced anxiety and caffeine today almost put me over the edge. Now I’m anxious about everything: I feel like I’m not doing well in any of my classes, like my writing sucks, like I won’t be able to go into work tomorrow and do my job with confidence. I feel like shit.

I am back in my body now. My jaw aches from tension and my head is throbbing. I haven’t eaten yet today, and I don’t feel much like doing anything to remedy that. I’ve used cigarettes as a crutch. I want to cry. I want someone to talk to who understands. It’s so horrible feeling so alone and scared. I’ve been taking Wellbutrin for a week now, but the only difference it’s seemed to make is giving me insomnia, so to add to my problems, I’ve barely been sleeping.

Deep breaths. This too shall pass. Just hold on…one more second…one more minute…one more day…


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