Going to school was getting harder and harder. To sit in a classroom and not feel anxious was nearly impossible. Taking tests and keeping good grades was extremely hard, but I did it. I ended up in the National Honor Society my senior year, and couldn’t have been prouder of all my grades.
I played volleyball and softball, but I was always anxious sitting on the bus riding to games. So, my dad had to start driving me. Only a few teammates and friends of mine knew, but I don’t think they truly understood. They had some idea – they could see how antsy I was, how panicked and worried I felt – but what they didn’t know was how much it was impacting my everyday life. By the end of my volleyball and softball career in high school, I went second team all-county, and won the lancer award at my school for sportsmanship.
When it came to my parents and family life, my dad was living through it with me. He was the one who had to always make sure I was OK and taking my medicine. He was patient, caring, and understanding as best as he could about what I was going through. My father took me to all of my counseling appointments, doctor appointments, and helped me get back on my feet after a few years of living through this nightmare. On the other hand, my mother wasn’t as easy to deal with. She didn’t believe anything was wrong, and always tried to take me into public places and make me step out of my comfort zone when I was not ready. She wasn’t as supportive as my dad through it all, but looking back I know that she was only trying to help speed up the process of getting back to “normal.”
Living with anxiety was not easy, and still isn’t easy today. I have learned my own strategies on how to handle it. On the outside in high school I was an outgoing, happy girl, but inside my mind was going a million miles an hour nonstop. By not going into a Wegmans, a mall, bowling alley, football game, movie theatre, restaurant or any public place for almost three years sounds absolutely mind-blowing, that was me.
Looking at me today, people have no idea that I experienced this, and I’m glad it is not evident just by looking at me. I came out of this experience stronger than ever, and it has made me the person I am today. I know there are others in college out there living with anxiety, so what can you do next time you feel anxious before an exam or in general? Stay tuned for my next post.
This post is part of a series. Read part one here.
Photo credit: Jeremy Thomas