It was a breezy Saturday afternoon, my friend Sally and I were doing rounds of the football field. It was a regime we religiously followed. Everything was great; we got straight A's, our debate team had won nearly every competition this semester, we were regular with our diet and exercise routine, and our families were proud of whatever we had accomplished at the tender age of 21.

Regular exercise reduce anxiety

After being done with our slight run, Sally went to get some water, while I sat on the ground, exhausted. Suddenly, I could hear my thoughts pounding against my head. They were not at all pleasant. An aura of pessimism filled me up. I was down to experience the goodness of endorphins flushing through my veins as they describe in all the fitness magazines. But to my horror, I went down the spiral to experience my worst nightmare - anxiety. 

I could hear Sally yell at the top of her voice, "Come on Katherine, it's time we go get ready!" 
I frantically shook myself into reality and we left to carry on with the day. 

Frankly speaking, the day was a total flop. I had episodes of deep brooding and contemplation. It was only yesterday that I was this carefree person, living life to the fullest and facing challenges with a broad smile. Suddenly everything seemed to switch for the worse. A sensation of helplessness and emptiness gripped me from within. Even those simple everyday college chores seemed like a drag. 

Done with the day, I was ready to go and cry in my room. I detected myself with anxiety, all thanks to the Internet! I shut the door to my room, started googling the cure to my anxiety when I heard a loud knock. It was Sally. She pulled me out of my gloomy room and took me outside, where she had gathered all our friends and planned for a fun movie night. Not only that, but she also surprised me by preparing a lavish spread of my favorite food.
 I was deeply touched. Teary-eyed, I looked up, about to thank her for the gesture, when she stopped me mid-way. "You don't need to say anything at all Katy. We all have our days where we struggle to even get out of bed or decide our outfit. In testing times like such, we need to sit back, take a break, and appreciate all that we have achieved. It is life's way of telling to take a halt and celebrate what you have."

friends enjoying cake

I was touched. Only a moment ago, drowned in my own worries, I was struggling to get a grip on my thoughts. 
With a simple, heartfelt, and honest approach, Sally saved me from the horrors of my mind. 

Movie night was so much fun! All our friends were thrilled to get out of their hectic schedules for an amusing night of stories, sharing, and recreation. My anxiety phase seemed to have pacified, as we pulled an all-nighter, playing exciting games. We all detoxed, shared, and expressed everything, good and bad. Sally made sure that I spilled out all that had been bothering me. If I recall correctly, I experienced anxiety for some presentation due in a few weeks. My friends instantly agreed to help. At that moment I felt confident and an outward strength took over me. I distinctly recall that night when I finally let go of all the baggage pulling me down. The OCD perfectionist in me was pacified for good. 

For the next few days, I was empowered and felt truly limitless. It made me work with double strength and I aced my presentation. The feeling was overwhelming! At that moment I was experiencing a rush where I just wanted to find Sally and thank her enough. I couldn't believe that the same girl who used to excessively obsess and panic about every little thing, had learned to take things easy. By putting in calculated efforts and a lot less agonizing, I understood the power of sharing, expressing, trusting, and honest socializing. 

Power of sharing, expressing, trusting

If it were not for Sally and her quick thinking, my anxiety would have taken control. She introduced an introvert like me to the marvels of interaction. 
My group of friends was equally supportive and a few were even able to relate to my situation. We came up with definite and practical ways to help each other. This idea of community support has become a thing that we friends still practice today. 

It has been five years since my first and (thankfully) last anxiety episode. 
I prompt all you people, of a well-knit community to keep a tab on the mental wellness of those you care about. 

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