I would not still be lifeguarding after three years if I wasn’t steadfastly sure I could handle the stresses the job comes with. Although I felt a bit anxious about certain things during my first year of lifeguarding––such as rescuing a submerged victim––I immediately dealt with those fears and found strategies to manage them if they ever came up again. The best cure for anxiety in any job is complete confidence, whether that’s through encouragement from coworkers, asking clarifying questions if you’re unsure about something, or just practicing the same skills over and over again so your body can take over your mind during anxiety-inducing situations.
I know I’m not the only one who has received unfair treatment due to their anxiety disorder or other mental illness. Anxiety does not have to become a permanent disability––ultimately, confidence overrules worry in any job. If your boss, managers, or supervisors believe it is an issue, then prove to them that you can perform the necessary tasks. If they see everything through a filter of mental illness, then explain to them how your anxiety disorder works and tell them about the strategies you’ve developed for specific situations that could make you anxious. However, do not let them put you down because of your anxiety––everyone has weaknesses, and if you’ve proven yourself a great employee, your employer has no excuse to hold that against you, as I have been learning this month.
Those who have suffered from anxiety are some of the most courageous people alive––take that courage and show everyone that you can truly be successful. Never lower yourself to someone else’s standards. Go for your goals if you know you can achieve them, even if the world says you can’t.