How The First Day Of Classes Go For Someone With Anxiety

How The First Day Of Classes Go For Someone With Anxiety

"Even the simplest task can be overwhelming sometimes." Rhonda Bodfield
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6:45 a.m.

I awake in a cold sweat an hour and a half before my alarm goes off. I stare at the ceiling for 15 minutes, anxiously trying to fall back to sleep before I need to be up to get ready for class.

7:00 a.m.

I just start to fall asleep before my heart starts racing. It's seven o'clock. I need to get up and get ready. I lay back down. I don't have an eight o'clock class this semester.

8:00 a.m.

My alarm goes off and instead of snoozing it for five extra minutes, I spring out of bed like a trigger that has been waiting to explode. I immediately begin to get ready, fearing I may be late for the first class of the semester

8:30 a.m.

My reminder alarm starts to ring and I take my time to turn it off. Thoughts race through my head about how I was being inconsiderate to my roommate and I should've turned it off immediately. I go back to getting ready.

8:45 a.m.

I need to get going. Where are my shoes? I didn't finish putting on my necklace. Is my water bottle in my bookbag? I can feel myself sweating already. I take a deep breath and put my shoes on. It takes me five minutes to finish the seemingly easy task and I leave.

8:54 a.m.

There's construction. Now I'm going to have to walk around. This detour is going to make me late. It's not that bad, just have your friends meet you at the road. They went to the opposite road. I can see the building. It is OK. Breathe.

8:58 a.m.

I make it to the second floor. I need to grab my book from my locker and make it to the third floor in two minutes.

9:01 a.m.

I race up the stairs. I walk in the doors and everyone is looking at me. I'm late. She's going to take points off my grade. Way to make a good first impression. I sit down at the piano and everyone is still staring at me. I fidget while she explains the syllabus and I stare at the keys in front of me. When is this class over? 48 minutes. Great

9:50 a.m.

I try to go to the wrong class. Awkward. At least I have a great friend to correct me before I make a fool out of myself.

9:53 a.m.

There's not enough seats for me. Just walk in front of them to move the chair next to your friend. It's no big deal. People do it all the time.

10:00 a.m.

He begins to explain the syllabus. What am I doing in this class? I'm going to do so poorly. You're doing what you love. Why is my hand shaking? Breathe. I pick at the edge of the paper until we begin a conducting exercise.

10:58 a.m.

I check my email. Finally! I got my work schedule. Oh. I work for an hour during my lunch today. No need to panic, you can grab a sandwich from next door and eat it while you work.

11:26 a.m.

My fidget spinner just fell on the ground. Everyone behind me is probably looking at me. Why is my face heating up and my chest tightening? It's really no big deal. They probably think I'm weird for using a fidget spinner to relax.

11:45 a.m.

Cool we got out of class early. I get downstairs wondering what to do for 15 minutes before work. I pace back and forth, feeling a little lightheaded. Go to the library and do some quick work.

11:50 a.m.

You should probably eat actually, it's only the first day of classes. You have plenty of time to do work. They only have lunchables. If you eat, you'll probably get sick anyways.

12:25 p.m.

No one turned in our time sheets from the fall semester. Will they accept them? I ring the bell and anxiously wait for the lady to stop typing and open the window to take them. My eyes dart around, watching her fingers and glancing away to distract myself. "What can I help you with?" When did she open the window? They took them.

1:00 p.m.

We are the only sophomores in this class. I don't belong here. What am I doing? Do I even belong in this major? My mind races thinking about if I even deserve to be at this school and major before I realize they accepted me for a reason and that I earned my spot. I debate this the entire class.

1:56 p.m.

I almost stop dead in my tracks. I forgot that I would have to see you at school. What do I do? Avoid eye contact at all costs. Turn around. Run out the doors and go back to your dorm. I don't listen to what my first instinct is and I keep walking to say hi to the person I originally saw.

2:06 p.m.

This is going to be the worst class ever. I loved this class the past three semesters. Drop out. Switch classes. No. Don't change your schedule. Where's my fidget spinner. You're about to conduct, that's weird. Breathe. You can survive and you will survive.

2:58 p.m.

Is that who I thought it was with him. I knew it. I am not crazy, my suspicions were right. I can't believe I was so stupid. Stop. Don't assume anything. I speed walk to my locker and fidget with the lock, fighting to breath as my hands are shaking. Why can't I get my stupid combination right? I finally get it and my things and lock it again. Are they seriously in the locker alley? I speed walk again into the practice room hallway. I need to find a practice room. I need to get away from people. My breaths are quick and shallow. Breathe, Katie, breathe. Why is it so hard to breathe? My fingers start to go numb by how hard I'm gripping my clarinet case. I will not have a panic attack. Not today

3:00 p.m.

I manage to find an empty practice room and panic to swipe myself in. I toss my stuff down and walk over to the window. I hold my face in my hands. It's going to be alright. Everything is okay. I stand like that for five minutes, trying to breathe slowly. My practice session is horrible. I doubt my ability to play the clarinet. I remind myself it is only because of the emotions I am feeling, and not my abilities as a musician.

4:13 p.m.

Why is everyone playing so loud? Class hasn't even started? I spend that hour and a half of rehearsal internally shaking while maintaining a calm composure. "I love what I'm doing." I repeat to myself. I will have better days.

4:45 p.m.

The night is followed by wishing people weren't standing so close to me, but not having enough courage to move away from them as we stand in line. Wondering if people actually want me to just join in at their table. I know they're my friends, but that doesn't mean they want me to eat with them. I head back to my room and copy six chapters of notes in advance. I will be prepared. It's okay.

Cover Image Credit: Cassidy Kelley

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