It’s 2016. I’m 23. It’s been 10 years since my first foray into seeking help for what I later learned was Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Oddly enough, I realized this a week or two ago when I learned it was the 10th anniversary of High School Musical, a movie that I was obsessed with in 8th grade. At that time, had no idea that my “dizzy spells” were panic attacks and that my “sensitive” nature was partially due to having anxiety, feeling insecure, but also a fundamental part of my personality. Both my family and I were in denial and moved on like we always did when there was a problem that wasn’t life-threatening. Little did we know that I would experience a roller coaster of emotions and mental illness symptoms.
10 years later, I know that my experiences and feelings were/are valid no matter who tried to convince me otherwise. The past 3 years have been the most formative period of my life. I feel myself coming into my own, whatever that may be. I will always be “that weird girl”, but I know that the world is full of wonderful, weird people with great things to say.
I feel like something is fundamentally different. Once December hits, my life will essentially be up in the air because I will be graduating. That would have destroyed me years ago. I micromanaged things in my life and was frequently disappointed when life didn’t follow my plan. Now, I vaguely plan when I work on my classwork for school and I schedule doctor appointments, but aside from that I rarely plan things because I know trying to control aspects of life aside from myself is like trying to lasso the wind.
I acknowledge that I still have somewhat of a fear of the unknown, but I realize that’s part of what makes me human. Still we continue on and thrive despite the fear in our minds. I know that stress is a natural part of life and that it’s not going to end me. I don’t have control over the curve balls thrown my way, but I know I can control how I react to getting hit. Breathe. Feel. Cope. Carry on. That’s essentially become my mantra to deal with moments that trigger anxious or depressing thoughts.
It’s winter time and there’s snow on the ground, but I feel a renewal within me. Instead of being a phoenix that rises from the ashes, I feel like parts of my being have been regenerated, just like the cells and tissues in my body. Or that I’m a machine whose old, rusty parts have been replace by shiny, brand new ones. I’m starting to feel whole. I’m starting to feel like me and man, it feels good.