Every single day I worry about the future. At least twice a week before I fall asleep I drive myself crazy thinking about whether or not I'll get into university, whether or not I'll be successful, whether or not I'll be happy. And as a person with anxiety issues, all these what if's I keep asking myself are self-inflicted torture. But I can't stop myself. The rational, logical part of my brain understands that whatever is going to happen will happen, whether you worry or not, but the other part- the one with the emotions and feelings and stuff- worries anyway.
A perfect world would be one where no one worries. No one spends even a fraction of a second thinking about what's going to happen, and everyone just lives in the moment, like we're all apparently supposed to. That would also, however, be a completely reckless world- a wild, thoughtless free-for-all devoid of restraint, like a party out of The Great Gatsby, fuelled by adrenaline and a lack of responsibilities. Too much worry is bad, but so is no worry at all.
Unfortunately, I am yet to find a middle ground. I doubt there is one. It's probably incredibly difficult to unearth the self-control required to balance worry- at least it is for me. I'm prone to panic attacks, but I never know why I'm panicking. It's probably a combination of schoolwork, university applications and just general stressing about the future, but whatever it is, it needs to stop. I'm probably preaching to the congregation when I say that kids now have more pressure put on them at a younger age than ever before. This isn't just a biased opinion, it's a straight up fact. Schools are more competitive, extracurriculars are more demanding and I don't even want to talk about universities right now because the application process is slowly killing me. And with all this added pressure and all this heightened competition comes inevitable stress and anxiety.
A lot of anxiety is affected by the people you surround yourself with- it's usually a product of people placing certain expectations on you or you comparing yourself to others. Both are equally crap, but you can control the latter more than you can the former. Always remember that the competition is with yourself and focus on outdoing yourself instead of others (although plus points if you can do both). As for the first one, different people are always going to expect different things from you, it's not something you can help. What you can do is not give a shit. It really is your life and it really is now or never. So do what you want and what you feel is right.
And that actually brings me to my next point: trust your judgment. This cannot be said enough. Trust your gut because instinct always, always, always beats logical thinking. I'm a total hypocrite to tell you this when I myself constantly doubt my own judgement, but it's true and you'll be a less anxious person for knowing it. However, there is a fine line between trusting your gut and overconfidence- be wise, not stupid.
Lastly, be selfish. This sounds terrible on paper, but it has to be said, Sometimes we give too much and we spread ourselves too thin. There is such a thing as being too nice- don't go there, it is unnecessary and will end badly. Everyone has a limit and sometimes you need to put yourself first. The first time you really do this you'll probably feel crippled with guilt (if you have a conscience that is) like I did, but there's really nothing to feel guilty about. As long as you've fulfilled your responsibilities and done what you have to do, you're sorted.
Anxiety is a bitch. Fact. But it's also something we can control. I can't tell you not to worry because what's going to happen will happen- you're not an idiot, you already know that. Now just try really, really hard to believe it while I go off and attempt to take my own goddamn advice.