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Grimsley Volleyball team leader Charlotte Williams in a blue sweater

Volleyball captain Charlotte Williams, Photo by Jake Acosta and Kevin Massey

"Overwhelmed"

Grimsley Senior Charlotte Williams overcomes her anxiety. 

By Ashley Crowell

Feb. 29, 2024

Charlotte Williams may not seem like someone who struggles with anything. 

 

She is a captain of the Grimsley volleyball team, a dedicated student and a confident young woman. Yet Charlotte Williams wrestles with anxiety. 

 

She was diagnosed with anxiety at the age of six and has been learning to cope with it for most of her life. 

 

“It started with things that I obviously wasn’t in control of that freaked me out when I was really young,” Williams said. “But as I got into middle school and high school, it turned into more common things…like an academic pressure, which a lot of high schoolers feel.”

 

Then during her sophomore year, the pressure and expectation had come to the point where Williams felt like she needed help. 

 

“I’ve always been a person where if my life feels out of control I focus on one thing that I am 'in control of,’ so for me that was school,” Williams said. “So I always put so much effort into school…and you just feel overwhelmed.” 

 

Williams was in therapy as a child, but had not been for several years preceding sophomore year. Her parents suggested that they take a different approach and see the sports psychologist at Grimsley. 

 

Sports psychology focuses on the wellbeing of athletes and addresses the mental aspect of a sport. For Williams, using sports psychology helped her channel her anxiety through a much-loved activity–volleyball–to work through her stress. 

 

“I learned a lot of breathing things…and just taking a moment,” Williams said. “We joke about if you’re going up to serve in a big game, just tie your shoe, take a moment.” 

 

She also learned that music and having fun are important ways of releasing stress, rather than becoming tense or worked up about a game. 

 

“I’m super competitive, but at the same time I like to have fun,” Williams said. “I’d rather have fun and give my all, versus being so in my head that I can’t give my all.” 

 

While being a leader on the court, Williams has also been a team captain since her junior year and has become an example for others who are facing similar struggles. 

 

“Girls who would come to me and express similar situations…and it was like, ‘Oh, I’ve been in the same position,” Williams said. “High schoolers often struggle with anxiety and depression. High schoolers put a lot of pressure on themselves, whether people like to admit it or not.” 

 

High school is full of stressful social situations and academic pressure, and students can often lose sight of what’s truly important. The weight of the future, and the decisions students are making now feel like an enormous responsibility. 

 

Yet as Williams said, “It’s high school, and one B is not going to end your life. It’s going to be ok, that’s important to remember.”

 

If Williams could speak directly to all Grimsley students on the office loudspeaker, she would tell them, “If you need help, seek out for it. It’s there. I’ve gone to the counselors here and they’re always good.” 

 

Her best advice to her fellow students is “be in the moment, and don’t worry so much about the future that you can’t control.”

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