The piece above is an unfinished oil painting of mine in which I've painted in a dense and chaotic myriad of colours to convey the feeling of anxiety. The first time I remember feeling anxiety was in second grade, I was seven and found out that when you started third grade, it was an unspoken rule at my school that you caught the tube on your own instead of having your parents drop you off. I remember having that constant nagging feeling and those irrational thoughts but I didn't know that I had a general anxiety disorder. Shortly after, we moved to Australia and I remember being quite relieved that I managed to avoid that fate, having blown it out of proportion. (Side note: I still think it sounds ridiculous for a small child to travel for 30 minutes on her own with who knows what type of people in her surroundings). Anxiety has been with me my whole life, I don't know anything different so I don't always know what is normal and what I shouldn't have to tolerate. I feel it the most about external things, things I can't control which hinders me from quite a bit. I don't like to answer the door, I get very anxious if I'm out late after school, I'm anxious if I'm late to school, I don't like carrying a bag without a strap and get very anxious about wearing a skirt or anything short, I may avoid outings with my friends if it will increase my anxiety and pretend I have too much work to do. Anxiety is one of those things that may seem small but when it is constantly sitting on your shoulder and nagging over the smallest things, it gets tiring, stressful and frustrating but you push through and learn to live with a little devil on your back. You can't sugar coat it but you grow stronger.