Hey, everyone! Hi! I’m Gianna. I’m 15 years old, and I’m an actor with Theatre of Peace. This year we are trying to start some new things and connect more with our audiences and kids everywhere! We want to get to know you, and the best way to do that is to start conversations and share some of our experiences. Some of the Theatre of Peace actors will be posting on our Instagram page or shooting videos for our YouTube Channel. So, make sure you check those out! We’re also going to share some personal stories here on our blog, and if we say something you can relate to, tell us below in the comments area. I decided I wanted to start the new year off with a post! Here it is:
My Experience with Anxiety and Bullying by Gianna
I have been dealing with anxiety for a long time, as long as I can remember, specifically OCD . It started to get worse when I went to middle school, since it was a new school, and I didn’t know anyone. My mom worked at my elementary school, so this was the first time I felt really alone. It got really bad when I started being bullied. That was the start of my social anxiety. I still to this day get worried that what I’m doing is the wrong thing and that I’m upsetting people.
Once I started high school and my classes got harder, stress got thrown in the mix, and I started having panic attacks. It could even be at a random time, and I might have no idea why. I’ve been able to get some of my anxiety under my control, but not always. Sometimes are worse than others, and I have no way to stop that. It’s the way my brain works, and that’s completely normal. The thing about anxiety is that it makes your brain think things that someone without anxiety wouldn’t think, and that’s totally normal. Anxiety is not a choice people make, and it is very common right now. It’s not an excuse for behavior; your actions are still your actions. I’m simply saying the thought process is different.
Here’s what I want to say to the people who bullied me because of how I reacted to things:
Not everyone is the same. People have different things going on in their lives, and they have been through different experiences. Some people have really deep seated emotional issues or have severe anxiety or OCD. All of those things play a part in a person’s feelings and reactions to things. So if I am having a panic attack over something you would just be happy about, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong; it just means I handle things differently than you do. People are entitled to their own emotions, and it’s okay to let them experience that without making them feel like it’s their fault. It’s not their fault. I am not in control of when my problems have a strong impact or don’t, and I am not the cause of them. I didn’t choose these things about myself, and I don’t decide when they affect me. My emotions are mine, and just because you wouldn’t feel the same way doesn’t mean I’m not right.
And I’m not trying to sound like a victim here or say that nothing is ever my fault. I do mess up and I make mistakes, but my feelings are not mistakes. I know that I can exaggerate things and that I make a lot of things seem worse than they need to be, but I’m not trying to see them that way. I see things through my own eyes, and the way I see things is different from the way you see it because of the way my brain works. It’s how I’ve always been, and I’m working on it. All I can say is take into consideration maybe not everyone thinks like you.
Here’s what I want to say to people who can relate to my experience:
It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to be who you are. Lots of kids have anxiety, and if you do, too, it’s not your fault, and you’re not alone. Also, your feelings are not mistakes, and they’re there for a reason. And if there are things about yourself that you want to work on, then great! But do it because you want to and not because someone else is trying to make you change or bullying you for not fitting in perfectly.
Thanks so much for reading and listening! Please leave a comment below if you want to share your experience or talk!