Samantha Emily Evans, the Editor-in-Chief, in honour of the release of the second part of “Mental Health Stigma: My St. Andrews Story Pt. 2“, shares with us a piece she wrote for the Mental Health Monologues, a series of workshops started by Tobias Harris and Emily Elderfield in second semester of 2015.
Anxiety: These Are Your Friends
Two people are standing on the stage. Samantha is in the front center stage, and Sammy is just behind in the back. They are both wearing the same outfit (and look similar- although not necessary). Samantha in the front is smiling. Sammy behind is moving around the stage.
I feel like vomiting…Why? These are your Friends Sammy. Be yourself. Be Confident… I can’t. I’m choking. Say something. It’s stuck (holds throat)…Now they think you’re quiet. I just – look, be yourself. I can’t!
Dr. Seuss says, ‘Be who you are and say what you mean, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.’ Gah! I love that quote. But it’s so hard. I just; just talk. Communicate.
Locked in your eyes. Locked in your eyes. Could I say what I think, and not feel myself regret that I have let a little bit of me out. I want to keep me locked in my eyes.
No. No- open your mouth, say your thoughts. You are a person, too. You are allowed to do what you want to. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate… Sh… T-Swift! Get Out! I’m trying to socialize…
Eh. Don’t try, just be yourself. Just say something, anything. These are your friends.
Hi, howareyou? (Pause)
Good. (in slow motion- while Sammy is saying…
You are not good, Sammy. What are you saying?! You are shit, horrible, sad, decent, living life! You are not good!!
How are your classes going? (Pause)
Good. Just studying a lot. I have an essay coming up. (while Sammy is saying…
You are not good, Sammy. You are bored as fucking shit. And you’re forgetting the big picture! Stop lying, just be yourself. Why are you telling them what they want to hear? Tell them what you are!!
Oh, I know… but it is so hard. And this is polite conversation- this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m making society happy.
Stop making society happy! Society doesn’t care about your happiness! Be who you are and say what you mean!!
Look, all this yelling isn’t going to make me say how I actually feel…what will then? Hm… maybe I just wish I- and you sound like a fortune cookie. So! You gotta just shake it off, I shake it off… T –SWIFT, again! I can really do this without your catchy lyrics. If anything, think of some better lyrics…This is the best day of my life, that’s better. That’s better… sh…
Oh, well it was nice to see you.
Yes! Let’s go for coffee sometime next week.
This piece was written in order to communicate what my anxiety feels like; it often sounds to me like an internal dialogue. The monologue is still being developed, however, I feel it is important to talk about anxiety. It seems like anxiety is often overlooked as a major mental health issue, when it is.
Anxiety is a natural neurological response. It is when the brain’s fight-or-flight mechanism becomes activated, but it starts becoming a problem when the fight-or-flight mechanism becomes activated for no reason. Anxiety disorders are the most common illness in the United States, affecting almost 18% of the population over 18, and in the United Kingdom, one in five people feel anxious all the time or a lot of the time, according to a a YouGov survey. It is very common, especially at university.
While I don’t particularly enjoy the rush of fear and worry that happens for no reason at all, it is part of my personality. Overtime, I have learned how to recognize it, and even, how to laugh with it.
Samantha Emily Evans