When I was a younger, I always knew that I was different. Things that were normal and easy for other children were extremely difficult for me. It was hard for me to make friends and talk to other people. As long as I can remember every time I met someone new or was surrounded by people, my heart would beat harder as if it were trying to leave my chest. As I got older, it has become even more difficult. Those are symptoms of what I have and it’s known as an Anxiety Disorder.
This disorder affects people in different ways and is more severe for others. Some are diagnosed with this disorder very early in life, but I wasn’t one of those. My parents always knew that I had difficulties being around others and my behavior wasn’t like most people. When I was a child, they had me tested for ADD, but that wasn’t what I had. My parents thought about repeating Kindergarten because they thought it was a maturity issue. My parents made the decision to let me go on to the first grade. For me, it was most difficult whenever my family moved and for my family it was fairly often. My father was in the U.S. military, so we were moved all around. My older brothers moved around the most with my parents. By the time I was born my family didn’t move as often or as far. We moved about seven times since I was born. It has been very difficult with my anxiety.
My anxiety was the worst when I was in middle school. I had a hard time in school especially when it came to taking tests. There were times I felt physically ill before my test. During this time I began to develop panic attacks, they got worse every time. I remember my mother working at my middle school and I came out of the classroom that I had just taken a test in. I tried explaining to her, as tears rolled down my face, that when I looked at the paper everything didn’t look right. My whole body shook as I tried to remember the information that I had been studying for weeks. I knew everything inside out, upside down, and backwards. Once I looked at the test my brain went blank, my heart started racing, my stomach felt like it was going to hurl everything I ate that day out, my hands began to sweat, my breathing started to get heavier, and I was suddenly aware of everyone around me. When I tried explaining to my mother, she didn’t understand. She didn’t know what it felt like to feel the weight of the world crushing on her. I started to take tests outside of the classroom after that conversation. This worked for a little while and it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I was tested for anxiety.
For those who don’t know what the testing is like, it’s terrifying. They first give you questions to answer, then they give you math equations, blocks for you to memorize, and more. The test seems relatively easy, but the test itself is not the terrifying part. The part that makes it so terrifying is thinking to yourself that there is something wrong with you. That you aren’t normal, and you will never be. When the woman called us in for the results, unlike the last time I was tested this one came back positive. I had anxiety, but not only anxiety I had test anxiety. When I take exams/tests, it is some of the most difficult moments of my life, but I got help. I talked with a therapist, and for those who believe that seeing a therapist is negative, it isn’t. Talking with my therapist was good for me, it didn’t get rid of my anxiety, but it did help. I learned things to help me cope with my anxiety. These techniques help me to take exams and get through everyday life.
Living with anxiety is difficult, but it has taught me many things. It has taught me how to be strong even when I feel like all the air has been sucked out of me. It has also taught me to be aware of other people. Many people suffer from different disorders and this doesn’t make them broken. Their disorder makes them unique because it makes them different. My anxiety doesn’t define who I am, but it also shaped me into the person I am today. It will continue to shape who I am, but I’m OK with that. It might be hard sometimes, but I now know I’m tougher and stronger than my anxiety.