Sunday, August 21, 2011

Emily's Story

The first think you need to know is, in general I have a very good life. A loving family, a wonderful best friend, and a life full of privileges I'm thankful for because of my hard working parents. That being said though, no one has a perfect life and everyone has their cross to bare. Mine came along in full force when I was 18, I just didn't know it.

Now flash forward to two years ago. A bright young thing (myself) starts her first year in college. Having hated high school, I was very excited to begin this new chapter in my life. I was rooming with a friend from high school, Kally, and I was going to school in a gorgeous city that I have been in love with since I was young, just a few hours away from home. Sure I cried when I left home, but once I got up to school I started to enjoy myself.

A few weeks into school though, I hit the wall, hard. I don't know what happened, but I became a wreck. I spent all of my time in my dorm room basically. And since my roommate had a new boyfriend that she spent all of her time with, I was alone a lot. I was out of contact with my best friend who was dealing with her own issues at her new school, out of state, and I didn't have a boyfriend. So I was lonely.

Then came my one and a half month relationship with Sean. We spent a ton of time together when I was home over winter break, he texted me all the time when I went back to school, called me, I loved it. But soon his life became chaotic with a new job, a new school, moving back home and the calls and text messages stopped. I felt hurt and when I tried to talk to him about it a few times, he said he couldn't change things. So I ended things, and for the first time in my life was heart broken. I spent the rest of the semester hating boys with my roommate (who was recently single as well) and feeling like I wasn't good enough.

I thought when I was home for the summer I would be happier, but I was wrong. Everything seemed too hard, I had times when I literally freaked out about small things. I wouldn't be able to breathe and I didn't understand what was wrong with me. It was at this point that my mom suggested I go see the doctor. She believed I was having problems with anxiety. Sure enough after visiting the doctor, she diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She put me on a medication and gave me a list of counselors in the area. I started seeing a counselor I really liked and by the end of the summer I felt better.

I moved into an apartment in the fall with Kally and two new roommates, Ellie and Sarah. I thought everything was going to be great. But things in my apartment got really stressful and tense really fast. We all started hiding out in our rooms all the time just to avoid each other. It became clear, quite quickly that we weren't exactly compatible as roommates. I spent as much time as a could (which really wasn't that much) hiding out at my boyfriend Jeff's apartment. I fell into a hole that fall semester farther than I ever have before. One that included me ending up in tears at our family Thanksgiving dinner for no reason. My therapist diagnosed me with both severe anxiety and almost severe depression. I had trouble getting to classes, I didn't get all of my work done, and things were really bad. I could barely get out of bed some days. 

At Thanksgiving, my doctor switched my medication and during the 3 weeks I was back at school, it definitely helped. I saw my therapist during winter break, and off and on during the spring when it was really important. I began to crawl out of my hole.

Well in May my boyfriend (who I know now really wasn't very good to me) broke up with me. But I came home for the summer and instead of letting it get me down this time, I decided it was time for a make-over. I cut and colored my hair, got a new ear piercing and got a tattoo (to symbolize the struggle I'd been through.) I started dressing in a way that's more outgoing. I'm seeing a guy friend until the end of the summer who makes me feel really good about myself. I've worked with my therapist all summer. I have an incredible apartment that I only have to share with Kally at school. And I'm actually excited for school to start.

I'm now 20 years old, and can say, I don't think I've ever felt happier in my life. I know the anxiety is always going to be there. But now I know how to deal with it. And I've never felt better.

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