about half way through my freshman year in college, i started having what i later learned were panic attacks. at the time, i thought i was losing my mind (literally). i had never heard of panic attacks or anxiety...
imagine walking through a dark forest and hearing something behind you-- only to see a bear walking your way...you change course and walk faster, only to have the bear follow you...you are hyper-alert now...you start to run, the bear starts to run after you...your heart is pounding, you're breathing quickly (too quickly...you're hyperventilating by now)...you're running, but the bear is only steps behind you...you're sure you're going to die soon...heart pounding out of your chest, out of breath...
now, imagine feeling all of that without the bear being there. yeah, it kind of sucks. imagine feeling that way pretty much every day, all day long...not having any idea why you feel that way or what started it or what will stop it.
i started feeling pretty hopeless...stopped going to classes...eventually stopped leaving my room. i was sure it was my roommate...she and weren't getting along and that was stressful. she had what i considered to be an easy major and i was in the nursing program. she played. i didn't have time to. so, i moved into a single room.
that only made matters worse. i was completely isolated. i was in a new building with people i didn't know trying to figure out feelings that i didn't understand.
to be honest, i don't remember how long i lasted in the single room...a few days maybe...i can't remember. i was completely dysfunctional. i wasn't eating. i wasn't going to class. i wasn't passing the classes i wasn't going to. i wasn't leaving my room. i wasn't talking. it was bad. at that point, my mom figured out that i needed to be home. she drove the van down, we threw my crap in some boxes, and she drove me home.
during the months after i left school, i went to therapy and saw a psychiatrist who could prescribe what he thought was the right medicine. i started feeling better and went back to school at a regional campus for the spring semester. with the support of family and friends, i did well in school and life, and the next fall, i was back at my old campus.
i continued to have problems with anxiety and depression off and on during school. i took advantage of programs on campus...the student health center offered counseling (individual and group) and they had psychiatrists who could prescribe medicine. i muddled through and graduated from the school of nursing. looking back, i think that i literally muddled through...i did what i had to do to get by...in a different time, i could have done better. i wonder what i missed while i was treading water.
Weekend reading: January 20 edition
1 day ago