When I got to college and made new friends suddenly everyone was talking about this thing called anxiety. It seemed like everyone around me was anxious. I didn’t really understand what they were talking about. I was convinced that everyone else was crazy and I must be the only normal one.
I always had some social anxieties growing up. In school, I never wanted to be noticed by teachers so I sat in the back of the classroom and tried my best not to be called on – even when I knew the answer. I dreaded public speaking and any presentation where all eyes were on me. One year there was a standardized test that included writing an essay and then reading it aloud. I remember the day of being frozen at the bus stop, crying because I was so nervous. My dad drove by on his way to work and asked me what was wrong. He had to talk me down and ended up driving me to school that day because I refused to get on the bus. But those all seemed like “normal” things to me that most people feared.
It got worse as I got older. At work functions I don’t always feel comfortable because I worry about who I’m going to talk to. I definitely am not the most outgoing unless I’m comfortable in my surroundings and I still dread public speaking, however, I still just think of that as my personality, nothing out of the ordinary.
But lately I have been experiencing a new type of feeling that finally made me go – OH. THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT. THAT’S WHAT THIS IS.
Suddenly I can confidently say I am one of the crazy ones too. I have been experiencing debilitating anxiety. And it is not okay.
I have a constant pit in my stomach where I feel like I am on Steel Force at Dorney Park — which used to be my favorite place in the world — except we just keep dropping down and never get off of the roller coaster. I used to be the chill girl, I’ve even been told that I’m ‘zen’. It’s pretty ironic – considering lately I feel this constant sense of impending doom and cannot fall asleep at night because of it.
Sometimes I burst into tears uncontrollably and I can’t explain my emotions. My hair has started thinning and I’m getting acne where I used to always have ‘perfect skin’. I can’t eat – I’ve called out of work before because I just couldn’t face the day and dreaded getting out of bed. The worst part is I know it affects my head and causes my migraines to worsen, which is the last thing in the world I would want, but I can’t calm down and don’t know how to soothe myself.
I finally was prescribed medication from a doctor after opening up about how I was feeling to my therapist, but its addictive and I’m already on so many medications as it is. I would love to be able to not always rely on a pill to solve all of my problems. I want to be able to cope on my own.
At every appointment since I can remember doctors have always asked me if I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have always answered no. Lately, I can’t fight the feeling that I am suffocating. That I am drowning in a big empty pool that is my life. Next time I’m at the doctor I’ll have a different answer. Because that’s what this is.