The doctor said not to worry, but that’s not so easy. You see worrying is my thing. I worry about everything, from what people think of me to what kind of shoes I’m wearing. I’m always dreading going to the doctor. Sitting in awkward silences with a woman telling my mum her 16-year-old daughter has anxiety didn’t appeal to me. I mean she had probably worked it out on her own but that didn’t make it any better.
I remember being in 5th year when the first episode happened. It was the weekend and I was hanging out with my friends when all of a sudden my vision blurred and everyone’s voices started to fade. All sounds were muffled as if someone was covering my ears. I suddenly became very conscious of my inner thoughts. My heart was racing and my head filled with a million different ideas, all of which focused on what was making these sensations happen. My breath was shallow and it felt like air wasn’t getting into my lungs properly. Then the increased consciousness of my internal thoughts became a more terrifying experience; anxiety crept up on me like I had never experienced before.
Was I having a heart attack? Was I going to suffocate? Was I going to pass out? As the sensations continued, my anxiety increased until the point my head was filled with the fear that this was going to be the last moment of my life. The fear built up inside me so much that I convinced myself that I was going to die and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. Every minute seemed so long. I wasn’t aware of my friends being there. I know it was silly to over react considering the attack only lasted 10 minutes but, in my head, it felt like a lifetime. I felt so relived when it was over, but I had no idea that they would be something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. When the second attack happened, it was like a reoccurring nightmare that wouldn’t end. The Fear of imminent death soon kicked in, it was so easy to believe that I was dying, quickly and without real reason.
Since having these attacks the thought of it all happening again was constantly on my mind but if I let my self linger on the thought too strongly it would cause another attack. It’s a torturous cycle with no end.
Soon my anxiety began to get out of control. There would constantly be new things to worry about and there was no one I could turn to. I soon began having more than two anxiety attacks a day. There were times I would be in class or in the middle of a conversation and all I could think about the fear of impending death. I tried my best to keep it hidden and I guess I done well. I kept my anxiety inside. But things were seriously getting out of control and I knew I needed to do something that would break this viscous cycle. My anxiety was ruining my life, I didn’t get a chance to live and I needed to gain back control.
Once I made the decision to fight my anxiety disorder, it was easy to be motivated to complete the task. I never realised that speaking to someone would be such a relief. Looking back now the things that I was worried about were so silly, but once I got into a state they all felt like the most important things in the world. I knew that I would never get rid of my anxiety but after speaking about how I was feeling and getting everything out in the open I noticed my anxiety starting to fade. There are still times when I’m anxious like walking up the stairs in school, speaking out in class and even asking a teacher for help but its nothing like it used to be. In a way, I feel grateful for what I went through because its made me stronger and in a way more confident. I’ve learned that I am capable overcoming negative thoughts and I can go to school without worrying about what other people might think of what I’m wearing. It’s something that’s taught me that its alright to not be perfect and its okay to not be the most outgoing and confident person in school.
When everything became under control everyone around me noticed improvements. I was able to focus more on my school work and I was much happier in myself. The best thing about this whole experience is that I’ve learned to cope with difficult situations and deal with them maturely without worrying or getting myself into an unnecessary state. I used to live with this burden and carry it around with every day, but now I realise that life is too precious to worry about what will happen in the future or about what skirt I’m wearing. Its about living one day at a time and dealing with things when they happen.
I know it’s easy to say now but if I could go back I would do it differently. I would speak to someone as soon as it happened and seek more help instead of trying to do it on my own.
My anxiety disorder has made me who I am today and I’m proud of that. I’m proud of who I am and what I am strong enough to do and deal with. I’m proud that I was confident enough to go to a job interview, to ask for help and to even put my hand up in class. I know I will always suffer from anxiety but living one day at a time has made a huge difference. I know who to turn to for help and I have a good support network which is also important to me. I can now make plans for a week ahead and don’t panic as the time nears.