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Opinion | Do not weigh Reddit law school forums too heavily this upcoming application cycle
Opinion | Do not weigh Reddit law school forums too heavily this upcoming application cycle
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 18, 2024

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Opinion | Do not weigh Reddit law school forums too heavily this upcoming application cycle
Opinion | Do not weigh Reddit law school forums too heavily this upcoming application cycle
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 18, 2024

Fresh Perspective | Take a Deep Breath

Fresh Perspective is a biweekly blog about typical college experiences, mental health and lifestyle advice.
Fresh+Perspective+%7C+Take+a+Deep+Breath
TPN File Illustration

I close my eyes to try and stop the burning. All I want to do is cry. A lump forms at the back of my throat as a weight presses on top of my chest. My shoulders seize up, my forehead goes cold and my fingers tingle from the knuckle to the tips of my nails. My quick attempt to notice five things I can see, hear, smell, touch and taste fails instantly. Everything, all at once, consumes me. I can’t breathe.

I have lived with constant anxiety from a very young age. It first started out as me not being able to order at a restaurant, or being too scared to do things by myself. Then, it quickly turned into having panic attacks in areas where I was surrounded by too many people. My parents, thinking I was just an antisocial young girl, didn’t take it too seriously because, frankly, neither did I. I didn’t know what the feeling was when I couldn’t breathe, or when my body would be sent into straight panic mode over minuscule things. However, as my panic attacks and anxious episodes got more frequent and intense as I got older, I remember my dad would tell me to just take a deep breath, and slowly, my body and mind would calm down.

Now, my anxiety is not just apparent in social situations or out in public spaces. I am in a constant state of anxiety most of the day, and it has only been like this, and gotten worse, over the past couple of months, and I don’t exactly know why.

I don’t know how else to explain it other than just feeling heavy. I am constantly thinking about everything happening around me at that moment and what is going to happen next. I’m thinking about what everyone around me is thinking about me, what school work I have to do the next week and just the simple existential questioning of what I am supposed to be doing with my life.

Having anxiety is debilitating. Most days I want nothing more than to just lay in bed and not take care of any responsibilities I have. But as a college student who is taking 15 credits, has an internship and a part-time job and is the digital manager at The Pitt News, I simply can’t do that. It has even taken me almost a month to come around to writing this blog, as I kept putting it off to ignore this subject. Anxiety is overthinking all the little things I have to do, but having no motivation to do them. 

My anxiety has taken over aspects of my social life as well. I don’t like to go out as much to the bars or clubs with my friends. I don’t reach out to people. I rarely make plans. It has me questioning whether I am a good friend, daughter or sister. And frankly, I don’t know if I am. Anxiety is constantly feeling like something is out of place, and when you can’t pinpoint what it is, you start to think it’s you. And that is how I feel — out of place with myself. 

When my anxiety started to get more intense, I kept it quiet. Those around me know I have always been a naturally anxious person, but they didn’t know to what extent it has been on my mind recently. However, I started turning to friends and letting them know what I was struggling with, and of course, they told me they could tell — because your best friends can always tell. I told my mom, and she encouraged me to talk to a doctor.

The point is that reaching out and admitting you’re struggling with something is hard. It is terrifying — especially for me, as I don’t like to let people see my vulnerable side. But I learned that to be vulnerable is to be strong. That weight on your chest gets a little bit lighter when you have someone to help you carry it. Open up to your friends. Open up to your family. You will thank yourself later.

Anxiety is something that is never going to leave me. I am always going to live with this sense of fear and overthinking. But it does not define who I am. I know I am a good friend. I am a good daughter, a good student, a good person. And as I continue to navigate my relationship with anxiety, I will tell myself to just take a deep breath. 

About the Contributor
Julia Smeltzer, Digital Manager
I'm Julia, a Senior majoring in Media and Professional Communications with a certificate in Digital Media and Professional Writing. This is my 4th  year working for The Pitt News and I hope to pursue a career in Journalism or Marketing!