In a previous post, THE FORBIDDEN WORD, I spoke about the fact that I had anxiety. What I did not mention were specific instances that I had experienced anxiety in. I thought that it may be helpful to those who are reading this, or the previous post, to see just how my journey with anxiety began.
Therefore, a bit of background is in order, I suppose…
I first felt anxiety, or what I consider the tingling’s of anxiety, when I was in middle school. I remember the first incident like it was yesterday, only I had no idea that what I was feeling was classed as anxiety. It is only in looking back now that I realize what had happened. I was in the sixth grade, a classmate had broken his arm and was going around the class and having people sign his cast. He was one of the popular kids and we weren’t friends; if anything we might, and might is a strong word, be classed as acquaintances since we were in some of the same classes. I remember feeling my chest getting tight and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I had asked to go to the bathroom, trying to calm myself down, but nothing had worked. Nothing had changed, I was still in panic mode. If anything, I had started crying, thinking that there was no way I could go back into the classroom like I was. I vaguely remember going to the office and telling them that I wasn’t feeling well and that I couldn’t go back to class; all the while sobbing and trying to breathe. From there, I remember nothing else.
After the incident in sixth grade, I don’t remember any other situation standing out. I do remember small occasions, when I would feel very uncomfortable, that I would begin to panic and feel like I couldn’t breathe, but nothing to the extreme. So, the sixth grade situation was forgotten; at least for a little while.
It was when I was in college that anxiety truly came at me head on. The main incident I remember occurred at my graduation ceremony. Hundreds of college students were graduating, whether they were obtaining a bachelors degree, a masters degree or their PHDs. The auditorium was filled. All of the students were sitting jammed together like sardines while our loved ones sat up in bleachers of some sort, cheering the graduates on. What I remember is surrounded by a haze. Throughout the entire ceremony, all I remember is feeling uncomfortable. I remember feeling incredibly hot. I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I remember taking the program that was on my seat and constantly fanning myself with it; so much so that, at the end of the ceremony when I was reunited with my family, someone made the comment that they thought I was going to take flight from how much I was waving the program around. The only thing that kept me going though the ceremony and not walking out was the fact that I had a friend sitting right next to me and that I could not see the way out of the auditorium; especially without making a scene and I absolutely did not want anybody’s attention on me.
Fast forward to what seemed like a typical day. This was the day that I will remember as officially recognizing what anxiety was and that I had it. I was driving home from work when a panic like nothing I had felt before came over me. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, my hands felt tingly, my vision started filling itself with black dots. I pulled over as soon as I could, a hyperventilating mess, attempting to call my parents while my hands were shaking and tears were streaming down my face. It was after this incident that I chose to make an appointment with my doctor who officially diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder. This was years ago now.
Whelp, there you have it. A smidgen of the background that I promised.
NOTE: My thoughts are my thoughts. I think them. My experiences are my experiences. I experience them. END.