As a young child, I was happy and active. I loved being the center of attention and would talk to anyone. I was involved in many things; including dance class, choir and baseball. That is, until things took a turn for the worse.
Around the age of 10, I started getting sick. I don’t exactly remember what triggered it, but I began gagging and dry heaving on the way to dance class. I didn’t know what was wrong and neither did my parents, so I was taken to the doctor who said I was perfectly fine. After a while, it began getting worse. I began doing the same thing on the way to practice with my baseball team, which I wound up quitting. My mom was determined to find out what was wrong. We went back to the doctor, who said that it was possible I had acid reflux, but that was the only cause he could think of.
I started on some medication, but it didn’t help. Eventually, I quit going to dance, but not without a fight. It was hell for my mother and I, as she would drive me and try to make me get out. I would gag and cry and scream. Eventually, she gave in, and I quit. And this helped the problem, but not for long. I started doing it on the way to school, and needless to say, I wound up missing a lot of days. This even caused my parents to get in trouble, and still, no one believed anything was wrong with me.
I continued seeing the same doctor, who had been my doctor since I was born. The problem would get better for a little while, but eventually, it would come back. I had a horrible time in 7th grade with it but was able to work something out with the school so I didn’t have to go as much. I did well my 8th and 9th grade years, but the end of 9th grade, I got sick, yet again. I missed the last month. We got through it, so when school was out, I just enjoyed my summer.
When it came time to go into 10th grade, I got so violently sick that I had to leave the first day. I was sweating, vomiting, crying, etc. All the things that usually happened, but this time, it was much worse. My mom took me back to the doctor who finally put a name to what was happening: “anxiety disorder.” He put me on some medication right away, and after about three weeks, I slowly worked myself back into class. I did very well that year, and the year after, so I decided to come off of my medication. Things were going great, and I was having a great senior year, when it all started back.
Out of the blue, I got up one morning to go to class, like normal, and I got those “feelings” again and began gagging. My parents and I figured it was nothing, and I would get through it, but it only got worse. I never went back to school after that day. Actually, I became housebound. I wasn’t able to leave the house for anything at all. I was even having panic attacks in the house, which made me think I was losing my mind.
Once again, I was taken to a doctor who put me on a new medication. I slowly got better but wasn’t able to attend my graduation.
When college came around, I decided to take all of my classes online. I have had trouble ever since my senior year, and it’s very frustrating. I am now 21-years-old, and this past year has been the worst. Last summer, a girl I knew committed suicide, and it scared me. I wanted off of the medicine because of all the negative things I had heard of it, and I got back on the medication I had previously been on.
I was on a steady decline to my worst state ever. Nothing was working for me. I was in a bad state of depression, and my anxiety had me bedridden. I cried all the time, and I just wanted to die. I constantly had thoughts of suicide, so I went and cleaned out the drawers of knives and blades. I was scared to death and thought I was losing my mind. My medication was continually upped but nothing worked.
I was scared I was going crazy. I was scared my mother was dying. I was scared I was going to kill myself. The thoughts were endless, and my mind constantly raced. That’s what it is like living with anxiety disorder.
Eventually, I got back on the new medication, and I’m doing better, but I’m not where I want to be. I’m supposed to try and attend a senior college next year, and I will actually have to go attend class. I hope and pray it goes well. I constantly have to keep myself in check and just tell myself I’m okay, and I’m not going crazy. When my mind starts racing about the future, my parents dying, and just overall horrible thoughts, I have to stop it. I have to force myself to think of something else.
Because of my problems, I have been on my knees many times, sobbing and crying out to God. My faith is all I have. I just have to hold onto the hope that God will give me the strength to continue battling this.
There are many different types of anxiety disorder. Some people obsess about getting sick or dying, for some, their fear is losing control or going crazy; some have panic attacks in social situations. Some have scary thoughts of hurting themselves or their children; some people have specific phobia’s such as driving or going over bridges. If you have anxiety disorder, you are not alone, and there is help. For more information, visit the Anxiety Disorders Association of America at: http://www.adaa.org