In my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I would constantly have mild panic attacks which consisted of internal tremors, where it feels like my entire body is shaking, even though it isn't. If my anxiety ever got really bad, I would have a bad panic attack, and I wouldn't be able to breathe. These attacks could be caused by lots of things, from being overwhelmed by the amount of homework in front of me, to getting into a fight with a friend.
I always put so much pressure on myself, and set my expectations so high. Therefore, when I would inevitably fail to achieve those expectations, I would punish myself, tell myself I wasn't good enough, and that I am a failure. As high school went on, I learned to deal with my anxiety, and found ways to change my mindset. Finally, graduation came, and I was nothing but excited to start college.
My first semester at college was like a dream. I immediately found friends, I had the most wonderful boyfriend, and my classes, while challenging, were not stressing me out. Then I joined a sorority. It was a stressful process, and at first I questioned if I ended up in the right place. But I found myself getting along very well with the other women, and I got the best big sister I could ask for.
I was convinced that I had not only found a way to deal with my anxiety, but that I had permanently "fixed" myself. Life wasn't always perfect, but I had not had any panic attacks in almost a year. Little did I know, it wasn't going to last.
Summer came around, and I was thrilled to have a paid internship just after my freshman year. I live in Virginia, which meant that I was not close to any of my friends, who all lived in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. I was also far from my boyfriend, who had gotten a summer job at school. At first, it was not bad. I had a 9-5 job which took up most of my time, and then I would text and call my friends and boyfriend when I was free. And, I got to reunite with my friends from high school on the weekends. Things were good. But then I found myself feeling alone at work.
Some days I would sit in a cubicle the entire day, never seeing other people. And my friends and boyfriend got more and more busy, leaving me with less time to talk to them. I saw myself getting distant from everyone. It felt like no one wanted to talk to me or be around me. People were making plans to visit one another, but no one tried to make plans with me. I felt left behind. People stopped acknowledging me in group chats, which led me to stop talking in them at all. I felt completely alone. When I tried to bring it up to people, they told me I was overreacting, and that soon summer would be over and when I went back to school it would all go back to normal. I tried to believe them, but I knew it wouldn't be true. Then the panic attacks returned. I felt horrible. I did not want to go to work, in fact I didn't want to leave my house. I had also been trying to lose the freshman 15 over the summer, and I had done an amazing job. But when I looked at myself in the mirror I didn't see progress, I only saw disappointment. Finally summer was coming to an end. I did not want to go back to school. I dreaded retuning and still being alone.
Sophomore year has been a roller coaster so far. There are times when I feel so included in my sorority and in my relationships, and other times when I tell myself that no one wants me around, and I sit alone in my room, too scared to leave even to get a cup of water. I have accepted that I did not cure my anxiety, and that it is not something that can be cured. It is something that I must learn to cope with, and find ways to not let it hold me back. I tell myself every day that I am not going to let my anxiety and depression effect me, and that I will try to find ways to make myself smile and destress, however I have yet to find anything that actually works.
I thought that college would fix me. And for a while, I thought it had. Now I am trying to find ways to help myself. I think that it is important that I express to others how I am feeling, so that I am not trapped in my own head, telling myself that I know what other people think/feel about me. If I can do this, maybe I won't be alone.