It was a normal day of school. I sat down in the classroom, proud of myself for making it into class that day. It wasn't normal for me to be in class; I normally stayed home or was alway in guidance. But today was different; I wanted to make a change and be a normal kid again. Language Arts is my favorite subject. That day our teacher gave us an assignment to do an informative essay. I thought that it would be a great opportunity to look more into my disorder and help enlighten my peers who didn't seem to understand how it affects my life. I decided to write the essay on my disorder for myself and anyone else who was misunderstood because they had the same disorder. It took lots of research and strength for me to write this report, but it felt good to get it all out and try to make a difference in my life and the life of others.
The next day in school, I went on the internet and did my research. Part of me wasn't sure if I wanted to do this, but another part of me was urging me on. There were so many things I knew about my disorder, but so much that I still had to discover. I learned a lot about my disorder that day and how it can affect people. I found answers to my questions and answers to questions other people asked me. By the end of the class, I had a paper of facts. I didn't know what to do with it all, where to start. I started writing my informative essay with my personal experience and story. I honestly wasn't sure what to write, what all I was willing to expose about me, so I went with the obvious facts about myself, like how I left class a lot, how I always have mints on me, and why I didn’t talk as much as I used to during class. I was ready to come out and share my experience of having an anxiety disorder. At this point in my life, I didn't really care what people said; I was sick of all the lies and rumors and just wanted everyone to know what exactly was going on in my life.
The week went by quickly. My report grew from a page of scribbled notes to pages of verbal art. Our teacher decided to let us present our reports in front of the class when everyone had finished theirs. She let us practice speaking and timed our speeches, so we could become comfortable with our first oral report. I was scared. Would people hate me more? Start any more lies? Make fun of me? Treat me differently? All these questions kept ringing through my head until the teacher asked, “Who wants to present first?” I could feel my heart start to race as I raised my hand. I love speaking in front of people, but this wasn't an average speech; I was telling them everything I have kept hidden inside for the past two years. My legs forced me up to the podium as I glanced at my best friend for reassurance. I placed some note cards on the podium and became to speak nervously.
As soon as the speech was over, I realized I had been up there for 12 minutes, and I barely touched my note cards. I was proud of myself. After that day, more people tried to help me with my anxiety disorder, the rumors started to fade away, and my life slowly began to return to normal with every session of therapy guiding me to recovery.
Today as I write this essay, I realize that with that little speech, I made a difference. I helped people understand a mental disorder better. I learned new methods to help with my disorder, and I spoke out for any other silenced voices in that class. I still suffer my disorder, but every day I'm getting better. I truly believe that speech was how I made a difference for me and others who have and suffer through mental disorders. It was hard because it`s not always easy to share personal things about yourself, but I'm glad I did it. It felt like weight off my chest, like I could walk calmly through the halls again not worrying so much about if I panicked in the middle of everyone. I hope that everyone in that class, that day remembers what I said that day and hopefully, they too will find a way to make a difference.