My Experience: Social Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Hi, my name’s Emily and I’m 16 years old. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a victim of anxiety. All my school life I’ve been terrified to go to school, sometimes to the point where I’d break down, cry and sometimes even have a panic attack. It became a part of my daily routine to worry. For years I used self harm to deal with my pain and I had no idea it was about to get even worse for me.
However, just recently it got even worse. About half a year ago, I stopped going to school. Of course, I was relieved, no more panicking about school, but I was annoyed at myself for not being able to go. I wanted to go to school, to have friends, to get an education and leave school and go get an apprenticeship. I never had a dream job because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it – I stopped dreaming for my future and began worrying about it instead.
After not going to school for a couple of weeks, I tried to leave the house. I couldn’t. Whilst walking to a train station, I stopped and couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move. I had a panic attack. I had to drag myself home, feeling ashamed and annoyed. Because I’d been in my house for so long, I had no idea that I couldn’t go anywhere at all until I tried to go out. Of course, I knew I was anxious, but I thought that was just normal. I had no idea how bad things were about to get.
I go for walks now every once in a while, but that’s as far as it goes. I get socially anxious so I can barely bring myself to go to the doctors or see a counselor. I spend my life worrying what people think of me, I used to get up every morning and straight away do my makeup to make sure I looked my best, because if I felt rubbish at least I could look decent (even if it was by covering myself in makeup).
Anxiety took away every friendship I had, every bit of self-esteem I had, any happiness I had. I still imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have anxiety – I imagine it would be a million times better than it is now.
People always tell me to just ‘go to school’ or just ‘go out’ but they don’t realize how hard it is. Panic attacks are horrifying, terrifying things that have so much power over you, you can’t just ignore them and keep going. Anxiety does push you back and I just kept loosing the strength to push it away. Nobody deserves to go through this, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone in the world. I’ve realized how many people go through the same that I do everyday, and it’s awful. Nobody should have to suffer from mental illness.