The beginning to getting better

Kaleb Martinez, Staff Writer

Anxiety is an affliction many struggle with. People lock their feelings behind closed doors and suffer under the notion that they are alone. Loneliness can be crippling, scary and disheartening. However, there is hope and people should know they are not alone as they come to terms with the fact that “it’s okay not to be okay.” Bella Chiolero, a fourth-year student here at Westmont chose to make her senior project, “New Beginnings aren’t Always Better,” focused on this notion. Her project voices the fears and obstacles that people face when they enter a new environment, which in Chiolero’s case was entering college.

The project is split into chapters: Sleep, Stress, School, Not So Easy Anymore and The Rock. Each chapter highlights the tolls of anxiety, stress and depression in everyday life. Your relationships, schoolwork, even your body, mind and spirit can be impacted by harrowing thoughts. Chiolero used being stuck in a pit and trying to claw your way out as a parallel for anxiety.

Beginning something new — especially college — can be a frightening experience. There are so many new places, so much more responsibility, and endless numbers of people to meet. Often, students leave their families and experience life on their own for the first time. It can be challenging to find people who understand and appreciate you as you are. It can lead to a sense of isolation and crippling fear.

Many people wear a mask, put on a smile or employ facades, sending the signal that they are okay. Even if someone encourages others or has a happy exterior, that doesn’t mean they are not wrestling with demons. Chiolero’s project emphasizes a sense of fear in using the word “anxiety,” referencing how others are scared about someone being either officially diagnosed or having much worse circumstances. Hiding away parts of ourselves is oftentimes an unhealthy instinct.  It is typically easier to hear the emotions of people and help others cope while denying that you also need a listening ear.

We all need people we can trust, people who we can confide in or even someone who provides unwavering support. Oftentimes, showing you care for someone can make all the difference. Through projects like Chiolero’s, people can break the notion that they are alone in their mental health struggles, and that it is normal to have a bad day. 

Listen to the project on Spotify:

“New Beginnings aren’t Always Better”

Written By Bella Chiolero

Sound Designer: Noah Stevens

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