I'm an 18 year old girl now (who wishes to remain anonymous). This is my story;
I was happy. I grew up in a suburb of Maryland, with two older siblings, and loving parents. I was happy, and curious of the world, but always worried a little. The first major incident that I knew something was off was when I lost my first lunch box in 1st grade. It was my favorite, I received it as a present, but I was being careless and left it somewhere. I had a huge put in my stomach, started to cry, felt nauseous, and felt somewhat light-headed. In the end, the incident may seem trivial, but I never realized my reaction may not have been normal.
Time went on , I was a normal girl, who had friends, did well in school, and felt fine. Until I watched my closest friend get bullied. I tried to stand up for her, and not only did they bully me as well, they forgot all about my friend and just harassed me. Because it was just verbal and not physical, the school "could do nothing about it". This went on all year. It sucked, and whenever I saw those girls I became petrified, hid, and even tried to run away. But, as a result I became a much stronger person and didn't let negative feelings hurt me. On the outside that is.
Middle school sucked for me. Puberty was awful, I lost all my friends to cliques, and I thought "cliques are so stupid, why can't we all just befriend each other?" (even though later on I was grateful for this outlook, and was right, it sucked at the time. So for 6th grade I had no friends, and felt alone and sad.
7th grade was quite possibly one of the worst years of my life. I had one or two friends, but I was outcasted for being different and weird because I didn't fit into any social group. Then suddenly one night, I woke up at 1 am to find out my father passed away. He fell into cardiac arrest, and the cause of his death to this day is still unknown. His circumstances were incredibly rare, and since everyone in my family was an adult, they knew how to handle it better then I did. I cried and cried, I screamed, I hit things, I was stricken with anger, grief, frustration, I was wide awake the entire night,and that night was the catalyst where my anxiety spiraled out of control. I can't really write much else about that year, because my father's sudden death put me into a deep depression the whole year, and my mind blacked out most of the memories out of guilt, shame and fear.
Then after middle school I started to feel better. My depression was gone, my anxiety was there but much more manageable, and I lived life happily, even in stressful situation. I thought I cured myself by using optimism and positive thinking, but turns out I was deluding myself. My anxiety wasn't gone, it was just dormant, and in random situations, it would act up again, wiring my brain with so many overwhelmingly negative thoughts I wanted to scream, no sleep because of constant overwhelming thoughts, digestive issues that were triggered by my anxiety, and eventually depression about not being able to "get over myself and fight it". 9th and 10th grade were fine, 11th grade was a blur because I worked so hard, and this year, my senior year of high school, I had a major relapse.
It took me until this year to realize my issues; all of feelings I internalized; bullying, negativity, major fear of failing, not being good enough, disappointment, etc., they never left. They just sat inside me because I needed to be strong and get over my issues. But after years and years of internalizing, my brain always thinking, never ever stopping, I started to explode.
College applications, my acute fear of change and the future (only brought on by anxiety), and failing to get my driver's license caused my eruptions. This year was so hard, juggling 9 classes (I go to a private day school on scholarship, there are a lot more classes, and the curriculum is more rigorous), writing so many essays, and worrying'; What's gonna happen to me next year? Where will I go to college? Am I gonna be forced to live at home? What if all my friend get into colleges they want, and I don't? I felt the pressure from everything on me, and I started cracking. I would throw up, cry incessantly, feel extremely depressed and defeated, toss and turn but never fall asleep, and I kept falling apart again and again for months. My family didn't understand; I was an outgoing student, I did well in school, I enjoyed my extra-curricular, and suddenly I was crying all the time, not sleeping, had a hard time eating (turns out I have GERD and lactose intolerance, the GERD triggered by anxiety), felt withdrawn from the world, felt depressed and sad all the time, let go and stopped talking to my friends, and felt so alone, it got bad. I only had suicidal thoughts very rarely, but ironically I had so much anxiety about killing myself, and would feel so ashamed and guilty for doing that to my family, I could never do it. I couldn't talk to any of my friends, because they are all immature, spoiled, rich kids who have no idea what it's like to struggle financially with a single parent household, where I even had to use my own college money to help out. Plus, I am the only kid in my class who doesn't have a nuclear family, so even when I told them my issues, they just pitied me, they had no real idea what I was going through. The worst part was, I felt so alone, especially at nights. Awake for hours on end, tossing and turning, my brain so wired with negative thoughts.
This went on all the way until January, when the school finally picked up on what was going on because my grades were slipping. I was sent weekly to the guidance counselor, and she meant well, but no matter what people said nothing got through to me. I only woke up because of my best friend outside of school. She had a very similar episode to me, earlier in high school, which led to her being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. She told me her story, and how she got help, and I don't think she knows how much she saved me, so when I finish writing this, I need to read it to her and thank her immensely. I realized then and there I could help myself, but I needed to do something.
I tried to explain my issues to my family, but they really had no idea, and thought I was just being a moody teenager. Then after it got really bad, I went to a doctor, and got diagnosed with GAD, and acute depression linked to my anxiety. Once I knew what was wrong with me, I felt somewhat relieved, because I knew what was plaguing me, and I could fight it.
I didn't want to go on medication, because what i tried dulled my emotions so much I felt drained, so I tried breathing techniques, talking out my feelings, meditation, and other techniques. I started to do better; my grades went up, I submitted financial aid, all my applications, and am still working on scholarships. I became more social and reached out again to my friends, but only told very few what happened to me because most wouldn't understand. Right now I use calming music, breathing techniques, medications, and getting my feelings out in art and creative writing (I'm editor of the Literary Magazine, and I'm in A.P. Studio Art-2-D Design).
I'm not completely better, but I'm really working on myself. After failing my driver's test over and over again (I'm a really good driver, but on my test I freeze, become incredibly nauseous, and keep failing because logic is thrown out the window), I renewed my permit, and am trying to drive over again, this time feeling more confident and less anxious.
This post isn't a success story though, because my anxiety isn't gone. I'm very happy I'm learning how to deal with it, and trying to build a support with my friends and family, but I'm not cured. I keep having many minor relapses, and staying calm is getting very hard when I get rejected from colleges and my friends get accepted, I fail a test when I study very hard, and one incident becomes a shame spiral. I used to have such bad self-esteem about myself, thinking I was ugly, I'm a failure, why would anyone want to date me, especially since my last relationship the guy just used me and played with my feelings, he broke me. So now I even have anxiety about relationships because how do I know the guy genuinely likes me for me, and not to use me for physical needs, or to make another girl jealous?
What I need to learn is, I know I can't control everything, and I never will. But I have to figure out how to stop relapsing, internalizing everything, and then losing it because I have such high standards for myself. I'll never be perfect, but I need to figure out who I want to be, where I want to go to college, and how to have a happy life without my anxiety controlling me. I want to control it.
I know that was really long, and I probably didn't need to be so verbose, but writing out my feelings is cathartic for me, and makes my thoughts way less intimidating. I came to this site reccamonded from a friend, and I wanted to share my own story as well as hear others who are going through similar situations. I now know I'm not alone, and if anybody has any ideas on how to reign in my anxiety long-term/has any questions or comments for me, feel free to ask/say below.