23.4% of women in the United States deal with anxiety every day, that’s a large amount of women. There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety and social anxiety, it can cause feelings of worry, panic, fear, and overall discomfort and disruption in every-day life. Maybe you are like me and are a part of the 23.4% of women who have anxiety in the United States. The question is, how can we turn anxiety into a superpower? Sounds crazy to think that right? But it is possible. Anxiety, although it can be debilitating and make you feel down-right bad, is one of the most wonderful secret weapons you can have. I have always been quite the anxious person, it wasn’t until middle school that it really kicked in. For a long time I had convinced myself that the anxiety I had was quite annoying and didn’t bring anything good into my life. In recent years this thinking has changed drastically, I’ve realized that this anxiety I deemed as horrible has brought me some amazing qualities that I believe make me an amazing candidate for a job, being a loving friend, and living as the powerful woman I am.
If you were to talk to me in high school, I would probably tell you that my worst quality is being an anxious person, especially if it was in early high school. It wasn’t until this year, my first year in college that I realized it is definitely not my worst quality, simply because it is the reason why I have been able to surpass my own expectations and reach many accomplishments for myself recently. For some time in high school I had built this narrative around my anxiety that it meant I was too annoying, sensitive, and a debilitating perfectionist, nothing I did felt good enough, I didn’t feel smart enough, and it definitely didn’t help that I was an A/B student and my expectations of myself didn’t line up with that. I was anxious I believe all the time in high school, and when college applications came around it was an utter breakdown. I struggled with college applications and acceptances, I had placed so much pressure onto myself that I broke myself down. One of the first lights that I found at the end of the tunnel during my time in high school and dealing with my anxiety, was when I became president of one of my high schools organizations, and as it turns out, I was actually pretty good at being in a leadership position. Slowly, I started figuring out that yes anxiety can make me weary of losing control of things and not having a set schedule (I still cannot function without a set schedule), but it can also make me amazingly organized and detailed in planning and communicating directions to others. I saw being sensitive and hyper aware of others feelings and certain tones of voice as a negative aspect, but it came in handy when helping my team through hard times and having difficult conversations, it created empathy toward others and their situations.
Since starting college, I have joined various organizations, began working part time, and have an internship. My anxiety has pushed me to be efficient with my roles in these organizations, communicative with my ideas as well as collaborating with others, and guiding peers through a variety of processes, but it has also pushed me to break down barriers that I had created for myself in the process of life. Anxiety only has a hold on me if I allow it to, I am bigger than what makes me anxious. It was time to put an end to the narrative that I created for myself, that anxiety makes me weak, or that I am incapable of doing big things and achieving amazing goals because I was not good enough. I was only looking at my anxiety through a negative lens rather than acknowledging the positive attributes and qualities it has given me that makes me the motivated, passionate, leader, and person that I am today.