During the summer of 2013, I experienced a series of anxiety attacks over the prospect of beginning my sophomore year of college. I knew my regular course load would be heavy, but on top of that, I would be taking two honors classes along side a film production class that had been described to me as a living hell. But wait. There’s more.
From a nonacademic perspective, I was beginning to realize that I needed to break up with my boyfriend, I was moving into my first apartment, and my sister, one of my closest friends, was moving to Washington D.C. for grad school.
All of this led me to react rather dramatically towards normal situations.
One night, I was told by my soon-to-be-roommate that I was in charge of getting us a kitchen table. In all reality, this request was not unreasonable. At the end of the previous year, we had discussed who would buy what for our apartment, and I had mentioned that I might have access to a table we could use. That table ended up not being available, but it still made sense that my roommate would expect me to provide one come the start of the new school year.
As mentioned before, though, my mind could not process the situation so simply. A table? I thought. I… I have to get us a table? Panic quickly ensued. What if I never find one? What if all the tables in the world get bought tonight? We’ll have to eat on the floor and I will be a failure and my roommates will hate me and I will never be happy again!
I began to pace worriedly around my house. The idea of getting a table was too much. My throat closed up and my eyes began to water, and this, to my eternal embarrassment, was how my mother found me: hysterically crying as I walked around our living room, shaking as I gripped my arms around my body, mumbling about the terrifying prospect of buying a kitchen table.
After a good hour, my mother was able to calm me down and helped me work out my thoughts. The next week, I went to Salvation Army and picked up a table and four chairs at a very reasonable price. My sister and I went to D.C., where I helped her move into her new apartment and had an adequate amount of time to say goodbye. Two weeks into the school year, I broke up with my boyfriend, a decision that was entirely right at that point in my life. Somehow, I survived the semester that I thought might kill me.
(Though not before I dropped one of the honors classes and wept profusely and unreasonably on a number of occasions.)
All this to say that (day-to-day, overanalyzed) problems can seem incredibly daunting, but:
- They’re probably not as big of a deal as they seem to be in the moment, and
- They will probably pass within two weeks.
Have a good day today, and remember that this too shall pass!