Commuter Life: Anxiety pursues, I persist

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems faced by college students. - Photo courtesy of

I was watching the Eagles game and finding some serenity in my final night of vacation until an email reached my inbox. The message from Southwest Airlines read, “This is a flight status change regarding your trip.” It was all my mind needed to set off a trigger not of stress or worry but something more evil: anxiety.

It wasn’t that my flight changed, but other factors that played a role in controlling my emotions. The morning flight was rescheduled for evening and that meant missing two classes that day. I’m sure anybody would be ecstatic to be relayed the information; anyone but me.

I spent six hours in an airport alone with my last drop of hope that an earlier seat opening would jump out and grab me for the flight. I felt helpless and not in control of my own life.

Anxiety doesn’t care about appearance. It doesn’t mind if you’re in the highest point of your career or battling demons within. It will always find a way to lift the carpet from under your once stable feet. The problem could be significant or something everyone around you believes is purely inadequate, anxiety still lingers. 

It shows its face in different forms, whether it’s getting angry, feeling inner pain, shortness of breath or any other way the body and mind specifically control the rotten disease.

I used to be constantly fixated on the future and what it holds, and often it shows up again, but I rely on my friends and family to help ease the panic.

For the people who don’t have anxieties that affect daily life, you are very lucky. Even my boyfriend doesn’t understand the concept of anxiety and what it does to a person, but he tries. People without it may not fully understand, and that’s okay. It’s important to find someone, a doctor, friend or relative, that does understand by the simplest bit of what you feel.

I took my anxieties and focused them on one thing—busywork. No, it doesn’t silence the fears, but keeping a busy schedule channels my emotions into whatever I’m working on for that day without the time to be in my own head. It’s a better solution than lashing out or laying in bed, which I’ve done plenty of.

Anxiety is a lot of bad things. It once controlled what I did from day to day and how my world was being played out. One thing anxiety can’t do to me anymore is take control of my life. There will always be the outcomes of how I deal with anxiety, yet I feel better knowing I took a little bit of power and found ways only I can deal with it.

Anxiety has a way of showing itself in moments you’d least expect. It’s being thousands of feet above land, fixated on the floor beneath opening with nothing I can do about it. Anxiety is inevitable for me, but when the floor does open up I grab hold of what pulls me back to earth.

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