On Your Mind: 18

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As part of a new online series called “On Your Mind,” DU MIND, in partnership with the Clarion, is accepting personal works about mental health. Selected works will be published in the Clarion’s online lifestyles section. Submissions may include: narratives, poetry, personal illustrations or any other personal work. Pieces can be submitted here. To submit anonymously, use the following information as your own when prompted by Dropbox:

First Name: Anon
Last Name: Submit
Email: anonymoussubmissionsdu@gmail.com

I am eighteen years old, and two years ago, I promised myself I’d be

empty of social anxiety.

I wanted to be a functioning adult that didn’t freeze at every human that

glanced at me,

that didn’t pour sweat at the mere thought of giving a brief presentation in

weeks to come,

that didn’t cry over not saying hello loud enough to someone in the hall

that I wanted to be friends with.

My heart would slam against its cage until I couldn’t hear or see the world

outside of me over the rattling and vibrations of my core.

The faces I feared blurred, but the anxiety stayed.

I am eighteen years old, and I didn’t want to shiver at the thought of

someone feeling negative, or even neutral about me. If one does not

completely enjoy my presence, I am something wrong.

Even beyond the unnecessary fear of being less than perfect around other

humans were the nervous ticks of checking the family’s recycling bins to

make sure every plastic item was a 1-5 or non-food-contaminated

cardboard,

taking inventory of my produce twice daily to ensure nothing would go to

waste without my knowledge,

re-tying a messy bun over and over until it would be the right type of

messy,

doing everything and anything twice.

Nervous ticks of snapping hairbands on my wrists and pulling my own hair

and unconsciously ripping the stitches of my belt loops of my jeans or

slicing my thighs and measuring how hollow I could create the space

between each of my ribs when I was uncomfortable

alone, in my own skin.

I am eighteen years old and I do not freeze at every human that glances

over me anymore,

I can present information on the political dynamics of the Arab Spring and

how feminists have used rhetoric to declare their beautiful thoughts that I

so wish I could bleed,

and I can even strengthen my voice and say hello to a stranger I’ve seen

only once before,

but I cannot stop shivering.

I cannot stop the thoughts that spiral through my mind relentlessly without

a care for the academic system that I am trying to function in or the people

I am trying to connect with or the positivity I am trying to maintain.

It is a storm without a reign.

The waves have calmed since I was sixteen, but the undertoe always gets

me,

just when I thought it was over.

DU MIND is a club working to end the stigma on college campuses towards mental illness, starting at DU. All submissions are anonymous unless otherwise noted.

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