I was 12 when my world was completely turned upside down.
My first anxiety attack; it felt like another person had taken over my body, I had no control over what was about to occur, my fingers started tingling, then the sweating started, soon after my throat was closed up and the feeling of suffocating took over. As this was happening, I felt like I was in hell, there was no way out, twenty minutes went by until I was able to get my first proper breath of air. Little did I know, that this anxiety was growing inside of me and would slowly make the next years to come an absolute nightmare. The next years, I kept these panic attacks to myself; they mainly occurred at the Boston Latin School, where I had been at the time. To anyone who hasn’t heard of this school or attended it, I envy you.
The environment I was in was toxic.
The teachers did not care about your education and if you felt sick in the slightest, they would tell you to suck it up and move on, you were “imagining it.” If other students found out you were struggling, the bullying would begin… There was no one to go to. During the school day, if I felt my throat closing up I knew it was time to ask the teacher to go to the bathroom, I would get up and go sit under a staircase in the basement of the school, there I would hyperventilate, gasp for air and tell myself that I wasn’t dying. It was all in my head. I would hide under these staircases and not go back to class, no one noticed I was gone, I felt alone. I was the only one dealing with these intense invasions of anxiety, everyone else was normal. I was the freak and I needed to be “fixed.”
I like to say that my anxiety was lonely and that it needed a friend, so it invited depression to help with taking over my mind and body.
I can’t really describe depression but it is very different to my anxiety. It’s like standing in the middle of a big city; you might be standing still, but everything around you is a blur.
By now I was in highschool, a sophomore to be exact and I was at my worst.
I can really say that I had hit rock bottom.
What used to be the occasional panic attack? Turned into three or four in a day, and the depression had begun to cloud my train of thought.
I was following my everyday routine, but I wasn’t “there.”
I pretended to be happy and managed to drag myself to each class where I would sit and let everything go right through me.
I would sit and think to myself:
“if only they knew what was going on right now, if only they knew that I don’t feel any emotions, just a numbness that distributes through my whole body.”
My days would go by slowly and the only thing I could focus on was getting home, where I would be able to sit in bed in the dark and not have to move until the next morning. At one point the depression suppressed the anxiety. I was so hurt about not being able to deal with my anxiety attacks, and feeling like I was being a burden to people that I confided in, that the anxiety was swallowed up by my sadness. In some ways, I believed that I was being relieved of the anxiety and that the numbness that I was feeling wouldn’t be difficult to deal with…
I was wrong.
I started to isolate myself from everyone, this numbness that I had been feeling was causing my mind to hyperfocus on every little thing that popped into my mind.
That is when OCD decided to join anxiety and depression.
I hyperfocused on many little things that no “normal” person would stop to think about. The one main thing that I hyper focused on was suicide.
I had gotten into a mindset where no one was going to miss me and that I wouldn’t be able to get help from anyone, death would be the best answer.
Having OCD, made this thought of suicide not go away; whatever I was doing it was there; I wouldn’t feel at peace until the task was completed.
These thoughts scared me and I knew that I needed some help, but I didn’t know who to tell or who to go to.
A lot of people don’t know how to treat a person with depression, anxiety, or even OCD. Most people believe it’s all in the person’s head and that they can easily stop themselves if they really wanted to, but I can now tell you that is not the case. I believed that no one would understand me so I kept it to myself. I would cry myself to sleep every night and eventually, turned to cutting.
Cutting is something I never saw myself turning to. I would “blackout” and next thing I knew I was sitting in a pool of blood. I needed help, I knew I did, but I was too worried of being a burden.
I was too worried of being treated differently once I came out with this information. That suddenly, I wouldn’t be treated the same. I finally confided in Will, one of my best friends, and opened up to my boyfriend about what was happening. They knew something was different about me, but I would reassured them that I was fine. I showed Will my wrists one day and he immediately went to get the guidance counselor.
I broke down crying in the guidance office, Will was sitting next to me telling me it was going to be okay, he ran to get my boyfriend who was attending another class, they both came running down the stairs, I was in tears, sobbing, they sat with me and comforted me but I thought the world was ending and that I was never going to make it.
Source of image: Pinterest.