I heard a voice inside my head saying, “Come on Abby nobody else has this kind of problem. Why can’t you just act like a normal person?”. I was feeding myself these lies without even realizing it. I’ve had panic attacks before, but one time in particular, I will never forget. I thought I was the only one that this happened to. I thought I was alone. I never want anyone to feel alone the way I did, so I want to share my story with you.
Physically I was seated at my desk, but my brain was going million miles an hour. Tears ran down my face. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions; feelings of fear, anger, stress, embarrassment, and guilt.To most people this was just a typical science paper to write, but to me this meant so much. This was life or death. My head throbbed, stomach turned, and my chest tightened. I just wanted to cry myself to sleep and never wake up. I spent hours in bed sleeping, because that was the only way I could get my thoughts to go away. No matter how hard I tried to run from my thoughts, they always caught up to me.
After staying up all night crying about how I felt like a mistake, I trudged to school and pretended everything was fine. You couldn’t tell by just looking at me, that I was beating myself up inside. My friends thought I was living the perfect life. The science paper I spent hours crying over, was just swiftly picked up by the teacher without a second thought. She had no idea how much stress that caused me. It made me feel overlooked, and unappreciated. I felt like I was the reason for everyone’s problems. Like I was the reason my parents fought, why my siblings felt ignored, why my family was having financial problems.
My parents saw that I was upset and they wanted to help me, but they didn’t know how to help. After some convincing, they got me to talk with a therapist. At first I wasn’t very fond of therapy. I would hate to burden someone with my problems, and I had a habit of bottling up my emotions. After a while though, I began to feel more relaxed. I started to open up and share with her everything that was bothering me. I sat and cried a good cry. You know the kind of cry when you’re done and you feel better, like a weight was lifted off your shoulders? That kind. I asked her if it was normal to feel the way I did. I learned a lot that day. I learned to not judge a book by its cover; you never know what someone is dealing with. Most importantly I learned that I wasn’t alone, and that my feelings are valid! Now I know that I was never alone. If you ever feel alone or helpless, reach out and talk to a trusted adult or mental health professional. If you take away anything from this story, remember that you are loved, and your feelings are valid!
(for reference, this took place in 2019)