LLP: The first of our #DearAnxiousYouth letters for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 1-7), this author shares their story of learning about their anxiety and they lend kind words to others suffering from anxiety as well.
It hit during my sophomore year of high school. I’d been avoiding a boy who’d liked me for a while then, and I had class with him next hour. But I was frozen. My friend Maddie and I were in the courtyard, and she was going to lunch – I was going to have to walk alone.
Suddenly, it was like some invisible force was choking me. I couldn’t breathe. My heart felt tingly and was beating so fast that my head tingled, too. I felt like I was going to pass out. Maddie saw this, and immediately rushed me to the nurse.
She has anxiety, too. She told me I’d had a panic attack.
Little things had happened that lent credibility to her assessment. Like, I pick at my lips and my fingers. I’m always tapping my heel or wringing my hands. I have to be moving somehow, always; it’s a terrible nervous tick – but it’s most prominent when I’ve got something big on my mind, or I’m feeling overwhelmed.
When in the midst of a panic attack, it’s so easy to feel trapped. It’s easy to feel like there’s no way out, but there is. There’s always something you can do to calm down.
Separate yourself from the situation, first of all. Maybe play some calming music, take deep breaths, clear your mind of absolutely everything.
You will be okay, I promise.
Before we part, I must say one thing. There is nothing wrong with you…
You’re not messed up.
You’re not a liar.
You’re not making up excuses.
You are perfect just how you are, and don’t you ever forget it.