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Preparedness Can Only Help by Rachel Svites

The best thing you can do for yourself in life is prepare, whether that is in school, your career, or aspects of your personal life. I have always been someone who liked to be prepared. I used to think that being prepared just seemed fun and exciting. It was not until I was a little older that I realized it was something I craved because it kept my anxiety low.
In 2017, I was diagnosed with OCD, also known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health defines OCD as “a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.”
Now you might be thinking, how does OCD have anything to do with anxiety? Well, it has more to do with it than one might think. When I create an obsession in my head, I cannot get it out, no matter how hard I try. It could take years, and most of the time, produce an absurd amount of anxiety.
The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”
Anyone who has OCD or anxiety, or is someone who has watched their loved ones suffer from it, knows that it can hinder lives. Over the past few years, my anxiety has gotten worse, and I have helped it become that way. I feed into what my mind is telling me instead of getting up and doing something about it. I decided enough was enough and began helping myself.
There are just some things in life that you worry about more than others. For me, it can range from a tornado to someone I love getting sick. None of it could be present in my life, but that does not mean I will not get extreme anxiety thinking it could happen.
One of the things I have struggled most with is the feeling that an emergency will occur, and there is nothing I can do to help or stop it. It was never a thought looming over my head like a dark cloud, but it was always present somewhere in my mind. Situations would arise, and I would panic silently to myself, thinking that the worst would happen when nothing was wrong with anyone.
This past May, I was a student studying to earn my undergraduate degree and had the chance to take an extra class. In my final semester at Salisbury University, I decided to take a class called Emergency Wilderness Care. I was so excited to be in this class because I was finally ready to tackle this mental block I had created in my head.
This class introduced me to the principles of how to help a patient be comfortable and survive in situations when help is an hour or more out. This care can pertain to open wounds, fractures, sprains, infections, and many other life-threatening conditions. Taking this class gave me a feeling of power. I felt if someone was physically hurt, I would now have the ability to help them.
I understand that a few scenarios in my life would cause me to be in these types of situations, and because of my anxiety, I never let myself get in these situations. But now, I can live my life freely and not worry about going on an incredible trip or doing something I am afraid to do. That reduced a lot of my anxiety right away. It dawned on me at that moment that I could prepare for so many things that I had anxiety about.
It took me a little longer to realize that just because you prepare does not mean it will not happen. But it does give you the mindfulness that if an anxiety-driven event were to occur, you could do something about it. I was blessed to have parents who tried everything they could to understand what I was going through and try to help me throughout my life.
Once they learned that being prepared is a fantastic way to relieve my anxiety, they have stepped in to learn more with me. They have taught me many things that have helped me become less anxious, and it feels good that everyone has found a way to be a part of this journey.
All the information I have described above is my situation, but I assume many people can relate to it. The best thing you can do in life is to educate yourself. I will always encourage everyone to expand their knowledge because you never know when it can save someone’s life.

Citations
“Anxiety.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety.
“Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd. ❦


About Rachel Svites

Rachel Svites is a recent Summa Cum Laude graduate from Salisbury University. She was born in Southern Maryland and has resided there her whole life. Rachel is determined to help stop the stigma of mental health. She hopes that sharing her story can help others find better ways to cope.

She is applying to a master’s program in strategic communication and leadership. While she is just beginning her career, she is determined to succeed. Rachel hopes to continue spreading awareness about mental health and successful strategies anyone can use to help.

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