This is Elise
One of my favourite qualities about myself is that I have always been an open book. I live my life with the philosophy that everyone has a story to share and that story can have a powerful effect on other people. I’ve never been ashamed to open up about my experiences because I am hoping that even if I only relate to one or two people, I’ve still made a positive impact on them.
So here’s my story:
I am a student leader on campus. I have two jobs. I get straight As. I am surrounded by incredible people. Life seems perfect, right? What most people don’t know is my daily struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My day is a constant checklist, from the moment I wake up. My anxiety causes me to plan my life to the hour or else my mind starts spinning. Every decision I make, I have to weigh the pros and cons about it. I keep a smile on my face while doing so, because my anxiety also makes me scared of what people will think if they found out what I was really feeling. I get so lost in thought that I forget to see what’s happening right in front of me. My anxiety forces me to set unrealistic expectations for myself because the thought of being a failure forces me into a tailspin. When I do meet these expectations, I still somehow convince myself that I wasn’t good enough. My friends and family constantly tell me they’re proud of me but I never feel that pride for myself. This takes a toll on a person. You feel like no matter what you do, you’ll just never be happy with yourself. It’s a battle I face every day. I wake up and look in the mirror, wondering if today is the day where I am finally happy with who I see staring back at me.
I got a tattoo four years ago that says, “Finché c’è vita c’é speranza” which means “where there is life, there is hope.” That’s the beauty of this all – the fact that as long as I am alive and breathing, I haven’t given up on myself. The beauty is that I am still fighting to be a better person. Every day, I am learning to love who I am and all the flaws that come with me. I know that I still trying to accept everything that I am but that is okay because at the very least, I am trying. What is important is that I am still putting up a fight against unrealistic expectations, shame, anxiety and that is beautiful."