“Sorry, I’m having an anxiety attack, could you give me a minute?” Try uttering those words in front of a crowd of peers during an episode. What seems to be almost impossible, saved me from what could have been catastrophic. I would avoid crowded places, so logically school time would be absolute torture. In an idealistic world, I would be allowed to stay home with a collection of cats and only face others to receive packages in the mail. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate people, nor do I have such severe social anxiety disorder. But moments do tend to occur when my anxiety gets bad. Moments when my voice get shaky, my palms sweat up, and I'm lost for both words and air. A week ago I was forced to face a large amount of kids during this horrendous time of the day, more formally known as lunch time. Close friends invited me to sit with them, I agreed, already predicting what horrible outcomes may surface. I sat down quietly, not saying a word since I wasn’t familiar with much of the people around me. They begin including me in their conversation and a storm of panic took over my mind. They kept on talking. Everything was so fast paced and all of a sudden a girl is shoved into me. “I’m so sorry, my bad!” she said, as she laughingly walked away with her friends. Another student seems to be laughing hysterically several tables away. How am I aware of all of this? How is everything going so fast paced yet I am still over analyzing details that happened minutes ago? Whats going on, why are they laughing? Am I part of this discussion? Are they talking about me? Why can’t I hear them? I suddenly realize my thoughts are covering the sound of the cafeteria. My friend taps me on the shoulder with an uncomprehending browed expression. I feel sick to my stomach as I finally force myself to announce that I am having an anxiety attack. Blank expressions then grow to comfort me. See afterwards, I was aware that my only option at that moment was the proper thing to do. Not everyone will be as accepting as my friends were, no. But opening yourself up to others and letting your anxiety be real, that’s the first step to getting over it. No amount of pills and therapy will be the equivalent of having real people in your life get what you are going through and help you with it.
May 15, 2012