Dear Anxiety, you are 10 times the taste, the touch, the smell | KUOW News and Information

Dear Anxiety, you are 10 times the taste, the touch, the smell

Jun 6, 2018

I am 18 years old, and I have a condition where I am very hyper aware of things. I have ADHD and anxiety, so my attention span is very limited.

I'm not really sure how to describe anxiety, but I know the feeling.


Maya created this story in KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media Advanced Producers Workshop for high school students. Find RadioActive on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and on the RadioActive podcast.

I'm very aware of certain noises, certain tastes, certain touches, certain smells. It's like 10 times the taste, the touch, the smell. It's 10 times more for me. 

This week I recorded myself during a typical day at school. I picked times to record when I knew I'd feel anxious. 

Every day I drive to school but on Wednesdays, my mom gives me a ride. She loves listening to the radio, which means I get to start my day hearing about some scandal, or allegations, or something about deaths that happened. 

Not my ideal morning. 

As I walk up to the school doors, I pass a huge deserted alleyway, and the smell of weed fills my nose. 

Then I walk to math class. My teacher talks for the whole hour. I can't focus for that long!

I never really know what's going on. It's frustrating. 

Every day at lunch, I wait for my friends in the library where there is no phone service or WiFi, tapping my fingers nervously. 

For most people, it's not a problem to wait for someone. But for me, I never know if they will show up or not. It's nerve-wracking. 

But when they do show up, I feel so relieved. 

Every day I go downstairs to get my medication before eating. I hate this because sometimes the nurse isn't there, so I have to walk all the way back to the main office to get my spare medicine, which wastes my lunch time. 

Then I buy some flavored drink so I don't have to taste my medicine. Or worse, have heartburn for the rest of the day because I didn't eat or drink anything. 

The worst part is, what do you do from there? People aren't going to say, "Oh, everyone, let's stop because 'blah' is having some anxiety attack!"

They're going to say, "What's wrong with you? Why aren't you answering? Listen to me. Look at me!"

My fourth period Literature Analysis class is so peaceful — until people get up to go to the bathroom. 

I sit close to the door and the noise disrupts my train of thought. 

It makes me so angry. How hard is it to softly close a door?

There are different names for anxiety, like frustration anxiety, which I usually get during my Spanish class, especially today. 

My teacher had us play a Jeopardy game where she would ask us a question in Spanish, and we would hit the table once we knew the answer.

It's kind of like nails on a chalkboard. It's that really disgusting sound. You just want to tear your eardrums out, or pull your eyes out. 

Maybe someday people will understand and be okay with it.

There's also total mental breakdown anxiety where you just lose it. It's too much, like you need fresh air. Sometimes I go blind if it gets to the point where I'm very nervous and having an anxiety attack.

It's like you're dripping sweat, even if you're not. It feels like it. You have a 110-degree fever. Your heart will not stop pounding, and you try to calm down but then you start shaking. 

The worst part is, what do you do from there? People aren't going to say, "Oh, everyone, let's stop because 'blah' is having some anxiety attack!"

They're going to say, "What's wrong with you? Why aren't you answering? Listen to me. Look at me!"

Sometimes I just keep thinking about how terrible my day was, how angry I was, how irritating people are — but then I think about how happy I am. 

I think about the good times that happened in my day because I do have fun, even in situations where I usually feel anxious. 

I think everyone has that feeling of anxiety at one point or another. They just don't have it as long as we do. 

Maybe someday people will understand and be okay with it. 

This story was created with production support from Mary Heisey and edited by Marcie Sillman.