Terrific Tuesday: My Anxiety Story, 9th Grade.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First, HAPPY PIONEER DAY UTAH! I love Utah and I love pioneers. Thank you pioneers for making the grueling journey to Utah. This really is the place. Thank you for your sacrifice and powerful faith. I love you. I love my pioneer parents. I love the heritage of this beautiful state.

This terrific Tuesday I just wanted to write about something that has become a part of my life since my junior high days. It's not some big sickness and it hasn't completely changed my life, but it has played a big part in it. This thing I want to talk about is ANXIETY. The thundercloud on a sunny day. A real pain in the butt. I will be talking about my journey with it through 9th grade to now. Today I am going to start with the beginnings and my ninth grade year.

My parents tell me that I have had anxiety ever since I was a little girl. I remember I would have to go to the bathroom four to five times before every road trip. I would have to use the throw-up bag on airplanes minutes before we even taxied out. I would get random attacks before any big event in my life. If one of my school assignments or projects didn't get the grade I thought I would deserve, or if my teacher caught me talking to a friend, I would immediately burst into tears and feel terrible for my bad behavior...or poor performance. As I grew older, these occurrences seemed to fade away, until my ninth grade year.

Now, I took ninth grade VERY seriously. Like I thought it was a BIG deal. Ninth grade was when your grades started counting, when career options needed to be looked at, when college started becoming a big deal. Well that's how it was for me....I bet everyone else was worried about what outfit they were going to wear, or who their crush was, or how their EFY friends were doing. No I was worrying about my grades and reputation.  I had to be the best ninth grade officer, I had to be the best friend to everyone, I had to be the shoulder to cry on, the teachers pet, the ninth grader that would get into BYU because I was just that cool and smart. Everything turned into the most major thing in my life ever. Really though, everything and I mean everything was a BIG DEAL.

I didn't realize how bad my anxiety was until I ran into some trouble with one of my close friends. She was really struggling at that time and doing things to herself that were just not right or healthy. I felt the desperate need to tell someone. I was worried sick about her, but she had trusted me with her self harm secrets, and I didn't want to lose our friendship. I wanted to be part of her "cool, dangerous" life. But I didn't feel right about what she was doing no matter how much I wanted to be friends with her. I decided to tell someone about what she was doing. Maybe in society today I would be called a "rat, snitch, unloyal, prude" but I knew I couldn't let her hurt herself anymore. Even if she did say, "it's only for the rest of the week and then I'll stop", or "it doesn't even hurt that much". I told someone and that day I went home sick to my stomach. I got my first anxiety attack. My first "real" one.

I couldn't eat that night. I couldn't stop crying. My stomach hurt. If I tried to eat something it would hurt. I started to shake. I couldn't sleep. I could barely breathe. I was freezing. I felt like I was losing my mind. There was no way I could face her the next day. There was no way anyone would understand. I would ruin my reputation as the "cool" ninth grade officer. I would lose her trust and the trust of all my "friends." At the time, I felt like I had ruined everything. I felt like a failure.

Well, I did lose her trust and I did lose a lot of my friends. They would talk about me behind my back. They were either straight up rude to my face or straight up fake. Whenever I would try to talk to them, they would give me looks or stop talking about whatever they were talking about. It was the worst feeling in the world, and to top it all off...I still felt those horrible symptoms. The upset stomach, the crying, the shaking, everything. Oh and I got the biggest rash in my entire life...the beginnings of my psoriasis. Which is also another story all in itself. I was also feeling the mounting pressures of school, high school, home life, and everything else.

Although I felt like my life was over. Life moves on and eventually I did too. That year I discovered who my real friends were. I made new ones. I started wanting to gain a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I started trying to be positive. I started to feel happy. Unfortunately though, anxiety attacks still loomed around the corner.

Ninth grade wasn't the best year of my life. It was very rough, but to make this a terrific Tuesday post, I will say that many blessing came into my life that year. I started feeling a profound love for the gospel. I found joy in it. I learned of my Savior's infinite Atonement. My testimony started to take form. Like I said before, I made friends that I have to this day. Emilee, Megan, Kadee, Micah, Cragun...so many. So many true and wonderful friends. I was able to learn from mistakes and make important choices. Yes, I still had a lot to face and a lot to learn in the coming years, but that's all for another post.

Thank you for reading. I hope we can all find the good things in our trials. I hope you all had a pleasant and very happy Pioneer Day. I hope I can continue to share my anxiety story with you. Have a nice night!

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