Stories, skills, and positivity- to anxiety sufferers from anxiety sufferers.
My name is Andrea, and I live with anxiety. My story begins a couple years ago, when I was still in high school.
When I was in Grade 12, I found out that I have a performance anxiety disorder. I was drowning in school work, and my grades were slipping. Every time I had to write a test, my mind went completely blank! I also had regular panic attacks while in classes. Thankfully, I had teachers who noticed that I was slipping. They encouraged me to see a counsellor, which helped, at least for a while...
I started University in the fall of 2014. I made new friends, and began studying agriculture science. I really like my school and my program. Unfortunately a couple months into my second semester, things started slipping again and my anxiety was worse than ever. I began seeing a doctor who put me on an antidepressant to help me cope with my anxiety. That’s when things really went downhill. I went days barely eating. I would spend a whole day just laying in bed because I couldn’t even face life outside of my residence room. Just the thought of going to class would cause panic attacks. One day, my only accomplishment was getting out of bed and into the shower. While I was in the shower I came to the realization that I had been suicidal for a while. I cried the entire time I was in the shower.
The doctor I regularly check up with says that what I managed to do next is what may have saved my life. After I got out of shower, I grabbed my phone and called my mom. I confided in her about what I had been feeling lately. She told me I had to go to health services immediately. She understood that I could never make it there by myself and told me to have someone take me there. Thankfully, there was one other girl in my suite home. She walked me over to health services. When I talked to the doctor, she said I was an extreme case. It turns out that the medication I had been taking had had the opposite effect on me that it was supposed to. It made me more depressed and suicidal. The doctor called the campus police to escort me to the Emergency Room at the General Hospital. I was then handcuffed, and put in the back of the police car and driven to the hospital with two officers.
I was admitted into a special psych ward of the hospital. I was put in a room by myself, where I wasn’t allowed to have anything. They took my backpack, cellphone, the hair elastic from my hair, and even the bra I was wearing because it had a metal wire in it. They seemed to believe that I was an immediate danger to myself. One of the walls of my “room” was a big glass sliding door so that they could see me at all times. They called my sister who had to drive hours to be with me. I had to just wait for a long time by myself without anything to entertain me. When my sister arrived hours later I was so happy just to be able to talk to someone. She was so understanding and kind. She went out to get me food, and candy! The whole time she was gone, I cried because I was all alone again. I can’t describe the kind of despair I felt. When she came back, I was finally able to eat food. She then called my parents to explain what was happening to me.
Eventually, I was able to see a mental health nurse, and then a psychiatrist. They determined that I needed to get off my medication immediately. They also determined, thankfully, that I was no longer a threat to myself. They allowed me to be released as long as I stayed under constant supervision for two weeks. I went to live with my sister for two weeks, missing classes. She and her friends were so kind to me, they planned activities for me every night and were extremely supportive.
When I returned to school, I did my best on my finals, knowing I wasn’t going to do well. I went back to my doctor who then switched my medication, and continually followed up with me to see how I was doing. When I got back, I explained to my friends what had happened to me and they were more gracious than I could have ever imagined! They are such wonderful people and definitely helped my recovery process. My second semester was so much better than the first. My friends constantly checked up on me, encouraged me, and helped me get through my classes and assignments. They were so understanding on days where I had to stay home, and couldn’t take care of myself. Slowly, because of the new medication and my awesome support group, I took less and less days off of classes. My grades picked up, my attitude about life improved. I found I had a new appreciation for people, and new empathy for peoples’ experiences.
I am currently in my second year. I am living with anxiety and depression. I could never have made it without my sisters, my parents or my friends. I still get panic attacks, I still have to take the occasional day off of school. I still have trouble with presentations and exams. But I know that I have so many friends who are there to encourage me, and reassure me that I can do it. I can now look back on my experience and be so thankful for everyone who loves me and cares about me. Every time I struggle and begin to get discouraged, I remind myself that I survived! If I can survive everything I went through, I can survive anything else life throws at me!
My name is Andrea, and I am thriving, despite living with anxiety and depression.
12/4/2015 10:13:12 am
Hey Andrea! Your story is so inspirational. I found first year ridiculously difficult too, especially struggling in residence. I'm glad that you were able to get the help you deserve and are living life in the best way possible. You are an inspiration to so many people and I'm glad you are here.
12/4/2015 03:15:42 pm
Remember Psalm 139: 23-24
12/4/2015 06:37:43 pm
You are loved very much, Andrea. God has a plan for you💕
12/6/2015 07:55:53 pm
Hey Andrea, I read this article because I actually didn't know what was happening to you. I've known you for a few years, but I didn't know this was something you struggled with. I feel guilty that I wasn't one of the friends who helped you get past this, and I realize I haven't spoken to you or made any effort to be social at all in a long time. So I'm sorry to hear about how you've been feeling. But maybe we can hang out again sometime soon. Ttyl.
Leave a Reply.
Katie McLean holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and bases her anxiety aid in personal experience, as well as techniques that have been passed on to her by counsellors, friends, and fellow anxiety sufferers.