ANXIETY by Ghania Sifodil, Algeria

The first day of middle school, I was sitting alone not knowing anyone in the classroom, feeling bored and sad because I couldn’t start a conversation with strangers, until this girl came out and asked if the spot next to me was empty. I answered with a yes and a smile. I asked about her name to start a conversation and she said it was Jazzy. She sounded adorable and I instantly liked her. We started talking about random things, and then we found out that we had a lot of things in common. Speaking in English was one thing, because in my country we speak Arabic or French, and only a few people speak English; this thing made us close to each other. “You are  twins”, ha-ha, that’s what everybody said to us when they saw us together. She is a brunette with dark hair and brown eyes, and she is a little bit shorter than me but she is still cute. We are like soul mates, we think about the same things, we answer at the same time, we make funny jokes and laugh together. We passed our middle school final exam after 4 years of knowing each other and we went high school. It was kind of different, she changed in high school and I was stuck alone, even though I made a lot of friends. A part of me always missed her; we met sometimes but I couldn’t see her everyday. After a year without her I changed my high school so I could study with her. I struggled a little bit with the transfer, but I did it. I guess this is the time when she started feeling weak or anxious, but I didn’t notice. Every time someone said bad words to her, she would just ignore them and go away. Whenever I talked to other people, she would fight with me. I blamed her for overreacting, but now I know that she was doing this because she was afraid I would be friends with others and forget about her. We started to fight a lot when I spent more time with my boyfriend than I spent with her, even though we lived near each other. But at the end of the day we would hug each other and cry, then laugh and we would forget about it. After 3 years of high school we graduated and we went to the same university, but we pursued different specialties. Although we didn’t see each other a lot, we still called each other. She didn’t like the specialty that she chose and wanted to give up, but I didn’t let her. I always encouraged her. I saw a video on YouTube talking about anxiety, and I instantly Jazzy popped into my head. I figured out that anxiety is a real thing that can destroy a human, but I didn’t show her what I found out, instead I kept it to myself and I tried my best to make her feel better by showing her that she is worth it. After a year of the university she called me and told me that she wanted to meet me. So I did, and I felt something weird because she didn’t look okay. So I hugged her without asking her any questions, and I told her that she didn’t have to talk. Now our friendship is still going strong, 8 years later. And I always remind her that she is beautiful and worth it, and I will always stand by her side.

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