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
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
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
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
just when I thought it was over.