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Hamilton overcomes anxiety through her creativity


     Sometimes the most normal and everyday things in people’s lives can cause anxiety and stress, which can make their lives seem unmanageable. Resources, like taking a break during Refresh and physical exercise, are some ways students take a ‘breather’, but sometimes this is not enough to take away the long term anxiety. 

     Senior Abi Hamilton is an example of someone who has dealt with long term anxiety. She has had social anxiety and panic attacks since the sixth grade. 


Photo contributed by Abi Hamilton

     “Middle school is kind of hard for everybody, but for me especially,” Hamilton said. “I had a very hard time fitting in with kids my age and it made me very nervous and I would have panic attacks.” 

     As her panic attacks became more frequent, Hamilton started to stay home because she would get nervous. Her anxiety is centered around the fear of going places alone and if anything might happen to her. She gets anxious in big crowds, social events and even in bed at night. Hamilton typically parks in a parking space closest to the entrance of stores and runs to her car when she is ready to leave. Sometimes, she finds herself holding her keys in her fist as a safety precaution. 

     Because of her anxiety and panic attacks, Hamilton finds it hard driving at times. She had previously been in a car accident which left her shocked and scared to drive alone.

     “I think the biggest challenge I faced was getting my license, which for most people sounds like a weird thing, but now that means that I go to stores alone and I drive alone at night,” Hamilton said. 

     Hamilton hopes that continuing to pursue creativity in art will help with her anxiety. Hamilton does a lot of painting and drawing which she sells online. She also loves to read because it takes her out of the present and captivates her mind off of what might be bothering her. When Hamilton moves off to college next year, she plans on using these methods to help her when she gets anxious. 

     “I think sometimes it's easier to walk off and do something creative, than it is to continue doing something that stresses you out,” Hamilton said. 

     Another tactic Hamilton uses to deal with her anxiety is thinking through a situation and how she could get out of it. 

     “If I am nervous about going somewhere alone, I will remember that the worst case scenario [is] that [if] something happens,... I know how to get out of that,” Hamilton said. “It's kind of for me ‘logic-ing’ through the illogical thoughts.”

     Hamilton suggests that if you personally struggle with mental health to go see a therapist to talk through your own thoughts or to pick up a hobby that stimulates your mind. Also, going with a friend to a big social event is one thing that helped put her mind at ease. 

     Knowing these different coping strategies and meeting people that have gone through the same thing has shifted Hamilton’s view on mental health and its impacts on people's lives. She has learned to understand herself more and how her anxiety can affect her everyday life. 

     “You only live once and you're going to miss out on experiences because you're nervous,” Hamilton said. “I think that's a good thing to think about because sometimes the fear of missing out is greater than the fear of going,” Hamilton said.

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