My Story: Part 3

Well, what started off as a series I meant to finish in a few days, at most a few weeks, actually turned into getting finished in a few months….sorry about that. This one in particular just has some personal things in it, and I wanted to word it right before I actually published it. If you’ve forgotten or would just like to read the other parts over, here are the links to the introduction, Part 1, and Part 2.

When I left high school, my main goal was to find a college that was as far away from the people who knew me as possible (and still affordable). As most people starting college do, I wanted a fresh start, and I didn’t think I could do that if there were still people around me who knew the girl I used to be. That thought process landed me at a university three hours away from home (Now, I know that may not seem like a lot, but I was an only child who had never been away from her parents before. My parents even worked with the youth group at my church, so I didn’t even go to camp without them.) with no friends, family, or acquaintances close by.

Looking back, I really think that transition would have been good for me had I not already had the beginnings of what turned out to be depression and anxiety. Once I got down there, I tried my best to get involved and do things with my roommates, but every time I tried I would get so scared of being around people who might make fun of me again that I would end up having a panic attack and not be able to go. Eventually, I just stopped trying. Other than the church group I attended every Tuesday/Thursday night, I didn’t leave my dorm room except for classes. I stopped eating because I was afraid to go eat alone at the cafeteria, and I was afraid to ask anyone to go with me for fear of getting rejected.

Determined to stick it out for the full year, I got myself through the first semester and found that the second semester was going to be even worse. For one, the church group was only for the first semester, so I didn’t even have that outlet anymore. Luckily, there was a big/little mentor program with the same group, so I signed up for that, and got two incredibly sweet girls that I truly believe helped me get through that semester.

Another reason the second semester was so difficult was because during the first semester, I had gotten to be good friends with one of the guys in my freshman seminar. I went to lunch with him everyday after class, and we even went out a few times besides that. Second semester, though, for some reason (which I later found out was because he had gotten in with the wrong group of people and started doing drugs) he completely stopped talking to me, to the point of  ignoring me. It absolutely crushed me because until the end of the semester I had no idea what had happened.

Anyway, (first off, I should probably mention that I’m pretty pale and very insecure about it….moving on) one day it was warmer than usual, so I decided to wear shorts instead of pants to class. While walking to the class, I was so insecure about how pale my legs were and had convinced myself that everyone was staring at me and laughing at me in their heads, that I started having a panic attack and practically ran back to my room before I was even halfway to class. That was when I knew something had to be done. I called my mom and told her I wanted to see a counselor. Shortly after that, I met with her, got on medicine, and she advised me to transfer to a school closer to home the next semester.

The following semester, I transferred to a community college, started going to see my counselor every other week, and after two years, I’m definitely much better than I have been in a very long time. There are still days when I feel like I’m slipping back where I used to be, but now I have a support system that keeps me from going back.

I’ll definitely be writing more about this topic in the future (I was just waiting to get this done), but for now, if you’ve experienced anything like this in your own life, I definitely urge you to get help as soon as possible. Getting help was the best decision I ever made. It’s not something you can (or should) deal with on your own. It doesn’t make you weak or any less of a person. It will help you get your life back. Looking back, there were so many opportunities that I could have taken and friends that I could have made that I didn’t because of all the fear controlling my life. My biggest regret is that I let so much time go by before allowing myself the chance to get better. Don’t make that same mistake!

-Alice

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