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Photo of Julia, provided by her.

Julia Wells, 25

Julia Wells is a 25-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago who has suffered with anxiety all her life. Wells’ mother was adopted from Canada, and her dad from Syria, he left when she was two. 


Wells was raised by her grandparents, while her mother worked long hours to provide a great life for her. The only downfall, no one was really around to notice something was wrong.  


“I wasn't dependent on anyone. I was always figuring it out for myself and looking back on it my family missed every sign that there was, that I needed help,” Wells said.


Wells said she remembers having anxiety from as early as five-years-old. She had just entered kindergarten and everyone around her was right-handed and she made a decision in her mind that she would never belong unless she wrote with that hand, forcing herself to be ambidextrous just to fit in. 


“The thing was this was always my situation, I did things and reacted to situations to feel comfortable,” Wells said. 


Wells’ anxiety manifested itself in social situations, just like in kindergarten. Throughout highschool she said she was deemed as a “perfect student” but on the inside, she was screaming. She stayed quiet, kept her head down and did her work to keep others happy. 


When she finally asked for help, she was taken to two psychologists that both said “complete nonsense,” as she put it. “I've missed flights  and bombed exams and made huge life decisions because of the tightening, crippling fear in my chest that is anxiety,” Wells said. 


At 23, she met her now fiancé, Adam who she credits for helping her change her life. All her life she felt as if something was wrong with her, that she was “crazy in the head.” However, she said that Adam was someone that, “didn't grow up around me seeing me itch till I bleed when I stressed out and really confronted me in a loving way and challenged me to find out what was going on.” 


He encouraged her to go to therapy, to do yoga and to take control of her life. Through many doctor’s visits she was diagnosed with Asperger’s or ASD 1 and severe anxiety. “My anxiety had been there like the ASD from day 1 but being left untreated, unlabelled and not owned by myself made me struggle through my whole life,” Wells said.


Having this diagnosis was something that made complete sense to her. “ASD made me naïve to alot of human interactions and society as a whole, and as a result I experienced bullying, sexual abuse and other trauma that made my anxiety 1000 times worse than it started off as,” Wells said. 


Her family life, growing up around her grandparents and never really having a relationship with either of her parents made her face her struggles alone. It wasn’t being ignored, or looked down upon but it was being entirely overlooked until she met Adam. 


“Anxiety is paralyzing and it often doesn't stand alone in neurodiversity or mental illness which means people tend to be fighting two battles at once,” Wells said. Her reality is suffering with ASD 1 and anxiety side by side. 


“My anxiety still cripples me, I had built amazing routines and found strategies like 5 to 1 (finding 5 visuals, 4 sounds, 3 touches, 2 tastes etc in a room to distract me),” Wells said. Although she has these strategies to help her, she said life tends to not stick to her routine.


As she comes to terms with herself, she has to start planning her own wedding, “what I spent the last almost 3 years understanding and crafting a life into are being disrupted and I'm freaking out,” Wells said. 


She said while her fiancé is extremely understanding and helpful, everyone has their limits but she has also stopped hiding it. She has stopped allowing the people around her to get away with not educating themselves and wishes that they would do more. In friend groups, if she is having a panic attack she comes right out and says it, to push people to accept it more. 


She ended by saying that she knows her family still doesn’t understand it, or her really. “I've lost people to their rude opinions and my family still doesn't understand me and up to last night I was screaming JUST GOOGLE IT. There is so much information out there I wish that the people closest to us would spend some time and care by educating themselves,” Wells said.


Photo of Julia and her fiancé Adam, provided by her. 

Photo of Julia, provided by her.

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