Essay On Anxiety
Anxiety is something that I have always struggled with, but I struggle with it more now that I am in America. It is hard to understand everything in a new country. Sometimes when I do not understand something here, it causes me a lot of anxiety. I have been put in many positions where nobody explains things to me, and this also causes me anxiety. I am also just an anxious person, no matter where I am. Sometimes I simply have thoughts; it is how my brain is wired. I wonder things and have certain ideas that create anxious situations for me. As I read the article, I was able to understand the many obstructions that occurred as I traveled through America, as well as how they impacted the anxiety level I had in America. Essentially, I have high anxiety in unknown places.
The text referred to nonverbal signs and symbols as an obstruction. Barna stated, for example, that, “It is more difficult to correctly note the unspoken codes of the other culture that are further from awareness (Barna 74).” Foreign visitors do not understand the language of their new homeland, and sometimes do not understand symbols of where they are. I had an experience like this that caused me a lot of anxiety. Barna also says, “the tendency to approve or disapprove, the statements and actions of the other person or group rather than to completely comprehend the thoughts and feelings expressed (Barna 70).” A third obstruction. Barna describes is an interference of the “objective viewing of stimuli (Barna 70).”
I experienced these roadblocks when I first came to America. I am an international student; I am attempting to learn more about the United States and its culture. When I first arrived I knew little. I had more anxiety about coming to America than I do now. When I arrived in the airport, I was stopped because of my University Approval. The airport employees did not tell me why they were holding me, they only took me to customs to hold me while they figured out if I was allowed in the country. They were not very nice. On my way to customs, I saw many photographs of terrorists on the wall, which worried me a lot. I became so anxious I began to sweat. The only symbols I was seeing led me to believe I was in trouble, and I was unable to ask if I was in trouble. There were no friendly symbols, not even the symbol of a smile from one of the workers. The Americans and I were a part of separate cultures and felt no need to evaluate each other properly.
I had no experience with the circumstance and evaluated it based on the symbols I was being shown, as well as how the employees were asking. The employees evaluated me based on my University Approval needed further verification, as well as how I looked. I looked visibly anxious and shaken; it was clear I was not a terrorist. I am sure if I evaluated them differently, I would have seen they were not sending me to jail. The nonverbal gestures were misunderstood, though. This was also described as an obstruction. I felt at the time I was being stereotyped, also. While I share certain features with stereotypical terrorists, objectively I looked like a scared and anxious child. I have only heard of people being sent to the customs office because they are in trouble or because they are being sent back home, so I believed I was in trouble or being sent back home. I did not have any idea I was only being held while the Americans verified my University credentials. The entire experience was based on a communication roadblock that was unavoidable, but still left me feeling very anxious. I still meet this roadblock in America, and it still makes me feel anxious when it happens.
Unfortunately, the anxiety I experienced in the airport has not gone away. It has caused me high anxiety, which Burna says is another obstruction. It is not because of where I am or which airport employees are leading me back to the customs office, but instead what thoughts I am having. For example, I have insomnia many nights because of the things I think. I often wonder if I have made the right choices in my life. I lay awake at night wondering if I have done enough with my life, or if I am doing the right thing with my education. I wonder if coming to America was right or if staying with my family would have been the right decision. All of these thoughts and many more keep me awake, causing me to become very nervous. My heart beats faster and my palms become sweaty. I am unable to focus on anything other than how I might have made a wrong decision, which terrifies me. Eventually, I begin to think about being led back to the customs office, and I wonder if that will happen again. I cannot trust my own decisions or myself many times, which also gives me anxiety. Essentially, I appear to roadblock myself even though I am not in a cross-cultural encounter with myself.
In sum, anxiety has always been a serious issue for me. It became more serious when I came to America. Cross-cultural boundaries and the lack of communication make things more difficult for people with anxiety. I had to rely on symbols when I was led to the customs office because I did not speak the language. Unfortunately, the only symbols available were photos of terrorists; I believed I was in trouble and was unable to ask anybody what was going on. Furthermore, no employees tried to tell me what was going on. I was stereotyped because of how I looked, which was also an obstruction. My anxiety has only become worse since that experience. I often have trouble sleeping, as I question if I have made the right decisions in my life with my education and traveling to America. I hope now that I know more about anxiety I will be able to control it better. As I learn more about America’s culture and the language, I am certain I will feel more comfortable in my new home.