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Imagine waking up and being terrified and empty. Nervous about what today will bring. Nervous about every little thing that will happen. Nervous about anything and everything. This happened every day.
The second Monday of eighth grade was a horrible day. I got up and went to school perfectly fine. By homeroom I was laying in the nurse’s office so close to fainting. I called my mom to pick me up. While she was driving me home, she asked what was wrong because she noticed me staring to feel better as we got closer to home. I said I really didn’t know. Then I started crying. I don’t even know why. Tears just started to trickle from my wide, brown, fearful eyes. When I got home I snuggled with my puppy and slept. My mom thought that I was probably having anxiety. She was right. I stayed home for three days. I didn’t go to my classes for a week. And didn’t stay in my classes for two months. Sounds horrible, right? Definitely.
I would wake up and not want to leave my house. The thought of going to school crushed me on the inside. I was like a giant magnet of fear always keeping you home. When I would try to go to school I couldn’t. I would get in the car and the closer I got to school the more and more anxious I got. I couldn’t even take a step out of my car unless I was home. My car was the only thing keeping me from total anxiety.
On one of my first days back at school my mom called the counselor to talk me into staying at school instead of staying home all these days. She made me so much more comfortable. I was able to stay in the counseling center for as long as I needed. In the CC I talked with my counselor and played with squishy stress balls, drew pictures, and read books. It made me feel so much better.
Over weeks I began to see the school counselor daily and another counselor weekly. I started to realize that this was all in my head. I wasn’t sick and I wasn’t going to faint. I gained more confidence, but I still was leaving class frequently.
The problem was now, I was constantly tired. Tired of trying so hard. Facing your fears for hours at a time day after day is pretty exhausting. I shut down for a couple of days. I would just mope around and drag my feet. I started going to bed at eight o’clock. It was awful.
I hated being like this. I was missing out on everything fun with my friends and family. During this time I wrote in my notebook, “Why am I like this? My friends are all hanging out and having so much fun while I’m stuck here all alone. I feel empty inside, like a big black hole.”
I remember one day in German class it started to pour down rain and my head started spinning. I quickly sprinted to the counseling center and lay down in a comfy chair. I panicked. I’ve had panic attacks only a couple of times. German class was one of the times. Another time I was on a crew for a play and my friend had a seizure. I was fine when I was helping her, but after she was in the ambulance I freaked out.
None of the exercises I was taught during counseling would help me during a panic attack like this. I would try the deep breathing and the visualize-I’m-somewhere-else trick. It wouldn’t help.
After a few more visits with my counselor my parents decided to start me on some anxiety medicine. I was really surprised on how well it worked. I was going to school without having to leave class. I was able to calm myself when I needed it. I felt so much better.
I am so glad I’ve pushed this aside. I’m so lucky to have so many supportive people in my life to help me with such a difficult time. I feel like I’m on top of the world. This was one of the worst and darkest times of my life. Stupid, ugly anxiety will never tear me down again.