What it feels like to drown


Art by Zoe Dieffenbach

Hailey Mosher writes in her article, “I don’t want anyone to feel alone. I’ve always felt a sense of loneliness, and it never made much sense to me. I would be in groups of people and I would suddenly feel as though I sank into my own world and I wouldn’t know why.”

It’s 9:15. I just got home from going for a drive with three of my favorite people on the planet. A wave of happiness flows through me, but is starting to dissipate. I pick up my phone to call the same five people I call every night, and when they don’t answer a wave of anxiety erupts in my chest. 

I pause to tell myself, “They just got home, they’re talking to their families, they aren’t ignoring you.” 

About two minutes later my phone dings. “Call you in 15 sry Hails.” My friends called me back almost exactly 15 minutes later. I had a minor panic attack over absolutely nothing. And that’s okay.

The reason I start by telling you this is because I want whoever reads this to understand that this is something I deal with daily. Something that affects me constantly. I have the best friends in the world (I mean this literally, they are the most amazing people on Earth and no one can change my mind on that), but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m in a constant state of paranoia over losing them. 

They tell me almost on the daily that they won’t leave me, but somehow I still manage to overthink and almost lose my sanity over a simple thought that crosses my head: “You’re not good enough.” 

I never thought of myself as someone with bad self-esteem, or someone that was dependant on others, but guess what, I am. 

I am quite literally the most dependant person I know, and my friends constantly have to tell me that it’s not a bad thing. I have been diagnosed with anxiety since I was in fifth grade, and I’ve been diagnosed with other mental illnesses since then. 

I’ve had my ups and downs with it. Sometimes I have months where I feel great. I feel good about myself, and I feel like I don’t need therapy. Other times I’ll feel as though I’m in a fever dream. I’m trapped in a place that I can’t get out of and it’s dark. And lonely. And I don’t know what to do. 

The thing is, anxiety is something that doesn’t go away. I could be hanging out doing nothing with my friends and have a random panic attack. In fact, it’s happened on multiple occasions. It’s constantly like my head is split in two: logic and anxiety. It’s a constant battle of logical thinking versus “what if?” questions crossing my mind. 

I know that in the long run, none of these small worries will matter, but right now they do, and that’s what matters. Even if you think someone has it worse than you, or if what you’re going through “isn’t a big deal,” it’s still valid. That is something that’s always been really hard for me to grasp. 

I just want to help other high schoolers. I don’t want other people to feel the way I did most of high school. If you are going through this, please just try to remember that there are people around to help and that are willing to listen to you. Sometimes, when I’m anxious I’ll just surround myself with my friends. Even if I don’t want to talk, I know that I can sit and do nothing and feel okay around them. 

If you know someone going through something like this just try to be there for them. It’s hard to be actually alone, when you already feel alone. Even if it’s just sitting and watching a movie, it helps. And to people who are just reading this but maybe can’t relate, thank you for reading this. In a way, you’re helping just by reading this and attempting to understand. Just be aware of the people around you and realize that some people, a lot of people, seem okay but aren’t. 

I don’t want anyone to feel alone. I’ve always felt a sense of loneliness, and it never made much sense to me. I would be in groups of people and I would suddenly feel as though I sank into my own world and I wouldn’t know why. 

I still don’t 100% know why I felt, and sometimes still, feel that way, but I know I’m not alone. I understand that it’s hard to talk about these things, believe me after seven years of dealing with mental health issues, there’s still certain things I can’t seem to say out loud. 

I just want other high schoolers to know they aren’t alone. Even if you feel as though everything is falling apart and you don’t know what to do, there will always be someone, most likely many people, that are willing to help. 

I know I am.