My Personal Anxiety Story
I experienced my first anxiety attack my senior year of high school. I couldn’t breath, my heart was racing, my vision blurred, I was dizzy and I remember thinking to myself “I am going to die”. I remember my mom coming to me saying she had scheduled an appointment with a therapist and I thought to myself “That's it. I’m a crazy person”. I remember saying to myself for the first time “I have anxiety” and the pit of hopelessness I felt inside as I admitted that.
Before this moment I had never really dealt with anxiety. In fact, up until this time (even a little past this point actually) I thought people who had anxiety were broken, crazy, damaged goods and were unwanted. So you can imagine how I felt about myself when I started dealing with anxiety. Luckily for me I had one of the most amazing support systems behind me helping me through it.
The first time I went to therapy I told myself “just don’t tell him anything and he won’t know you’re crazy”. I sat down and the first thing my therapist said to me was “The first thing I want you to know is you’re not broken. You are also not anxiety. Anxiety is something you have but it doesn’t define you”. This is when I completely broke down, and this is when I started accepting the fact that I had anxiety and that was okay.
Over the next year I suffered and struggled with my anxiety. I often let it define me. I often let it control my life. But slowly, with the support of my amazing friends and family and help from my therapist, I started controlling it. I was taught practices that helped keep my anxiety under control. I learned how to work through my anxiety and I went through suffering from anxiety to living with it.
Now this is not to say that I don’t have my days or even my week sometimes. It does, and living with anxiety is hard. But now I have the tools to handle it instead of letting it shut me down.
Looking back I want to cry for senior Kailee. I want to hug her and tell her she is going to be okay. I want to tell her she isn’t broken, she isn’t crazy, she isn’t damaged. I want to tell her this doesn’t affect her worth. I want to tell her this doesn’t make her unwanted. But since I can’t go back in time I am here to tell you. Anyone of you who is suffering from anxiety. You aren’t broken. You aren’t crazy. You aren’t damaged. You are still amazing. You are still wanted. You are still you. Your anxiety doesn’t define you. I want to change your vocabulary from “I suffer from anxiety” to “I live with anxiety”