My goal for this essay was to bring attention to a topic that is overlooked and is not talked about very often, anxiety nervous and disorders as a whole, I wanted other's to hear my story and be able to relate to it. Overall I can say that I am very proud of my essay and at myself for being able to write about something so personal to me. I used to fined it really difficult to talk about my anxiety, so being able to put my thoughts into this essay was something that made me feel very proud. I hope that if anyone comes across this essay and it suffering from something similar they can relate and see that they are not alone.
It’s not just me
I could feel all eyes on me. I could already feel the heat creeping up my face, turning my face red. I was up on the stage and everyone was staring at me. I didn’t like being looked at, I lowered my eyes and hoped that everyone would just vanish. I didn’t understand why they had chosen me, me out of all the children, me. The air around me closed up around me, getting tight and started to suffocate me. The dim lights making me squint into the crowd below me. I could see their eyes trained on me, not blinking, motionless, just staring. The only other noise I could hear were the babies crying in the background, an occasional cough here and there and my heart beating, thump, thump, thump. I took a deep breathe in. Start! My brain yelled but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew I had to start and soon, so using every single ounce of courage I began, “in the book of eclastics, the apostle John wrote.” I pronounced every single world like they had taught me. By the end, I had read an entire scripture and had been confirmed. I had it done it. I took a deep breathe out.
I was thirteen years old when I read in front of my church. Little to my knowledge I had tasted the beginning of my anxiety. Throughout my sixth grade year, I began to have mini attacks, there would be moments where I would freeze up and couldn't breathe, my chest would tighten up and the room would feel stuffy. No one would know I was having an anxiety attack until after it was over. I would be having them once or twice, up to three times a day. I was prescribed antidepressants, but nothing eased the aching pain I felt in my chest. I felt alone. My anxiety had a toll on my speaking skills, I began to stutter a lot and it would take me a while to form a complete thought. I was scared to stand up in class and talk or even raise my hand. When I told people about it, they took it as me being dramatic, little did they know that over 40 million teens across the US suffered from it. It wasn’t just me being dramatic, it was me beginning my disorder.
“Cristina, what do you think.”
I looked from the back of the classroom. I had been snapped back into reality and all of a sudden the attention had turned to me. My face beaming red, breathe in, breathe out like I had been taught in my therapy. I slowly rose my head from the desk and faced the board,
“Can you please repeat the question.”
I felt stupid, now the teacher was going to know I wasn't listening and she was probably going to dock me points and she was probably going to call me out and everyone was going to turn and look at me. All these thoughts made my face turn an even deeper tone of red.
“Cristina, your answer please”
“Uh can you please come back to me”
As soon as the words exited my mouth I regretted it. Everyone was going to think I was stupid now.
Back in middle school, my anxiety had been really bad, social anxiety was what I had been diagnosed with. I couldn't be looked at for too long without turning red or beginning to stutter. It was something that I had begun working on, my parents signed me up for therapy. I was going three times a week, for three hours. She taught me breathing techniques and how to cope with my anxiety. Over time it got a lot better, and I realized that I enjoyed speaking and participating, however, it was not something that came overnight. Sadly not every teen gets the same help I did. Many people fail to see anxiety as a disorder, they look at it as a personal matter and fail to recognize that it is a societal issue. We have to ask ourselves why the anxiety levels for teens rose 60% over the last ten years. It is a problem we have as a whole society, not something that a teen is making up to get out of giving his speech in history. It is a problem we need to address.
I officially stopped going to therapy my freshman year of high school. It was a great feeling knowing that I could confidently give a speech in front of hundreds of people or just raise my hand in class without turning red or shying away. I still live with my anxiety every day and I still have moments when I want to cawl in a hole and hide. Anxiety is not something that is easily dealt with and it’s something lots of teens are being diagnosed with now and we have to find a solution to it. I can proudly say I overcame it.