To belong or not; anxiety

I just finished writing an essay on Harry Potter for my children’s literature module. In my essay, I talk about the quest motif, and in specific about Harry’s quest for identity. When Harry discovers that he is a wizard and belongs in the wizarding world his identity changes. Suddenly he feels like he belongs somewhere as he is amongst ‘his’ people. Yet at the same time, as he does not know anything about the magical world he feels different from all the other witches and wizards who see everything in their world as normal. This causes Harry to feel like he belongs more than ever, yet as if he does not belong at the same time.

I always put something of myself in what I write. I didn’t directly realise it, but what I wrote about Harry is similar to my own current experience. Before I came to university I never felt like I was quite at the right place schoolwise. Ever since I started university and became part of this academic sort of world, I feel as if I am at exactly the right place. I enjoy my course, the things we discuss and think about and I mostly enjoy writing essays. However, at the same time, I feel as if I shouldn’t in my class since I am incredibly bad at class participation. I have written about anxiety in relation to university before (here) and although I have become less anxious, it hasn’t quite solved my issue.

The issue is that even though I have opinions and have done my research on the subjects etc. I can’t convey any of this knowledge when I have to speak to a group of people. Even when I am on the football field and need to call out someone’s name, as soon as I look at the person I forget their name and as a result, can’t call out to them. My brain blanks for no apparent reason; my thoughts literally run away from me. It is not rational. It does not make sense. Yet it happens anyway.

Now, I know I really enjoy being at university and I wouldn’t mind continuing my studies after I finish my undergraduate. However, can I actually do this if I can’t somehow manage to figure out a way to deal with my anxiety?

Anxiety is a strange thing, really. No one is born with anxiety, although genetics and personality increase the risk factors for anxiety. As a child, I did fear presentations but I always managed to do them. Even though I could be shy at times, I never felt afraid to walk through town and now on a very bad day, I get paranoid about just walking in public if I’m on my own. So why am I so anxious now? Why are so many people anxious now when they weren’t when they were children? What goes wrong somewhere along the way to growing up and how is it possible to still fix this issue once the damage has been done? And, the real question is, can I let anxiety decide my future?
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