My journey with anxiety, like many others, started at a young age.
I remember hearing stories from my parents that I now laugh at, about the doctors telling them they’ve got an anxious kid on their hands. The earliest I remember experiencing anxiety was when I was about 5 years old, when I would cry every time someone left my house or wherever I was, thinking I would never see them again.
From then on, adding school and the grueling toll of growing up into the mix, my anxiety only increased and spread into every single aspect of my life. I found myself waking up with awful stomachaches and shaking throughout the day from constant nerves. I went to a child psychologist who taught me all about my anxiety through playing different games with her horses and cool toys. At the time, I was a big horseback rider so I was more than okay with this.
However, I only ever started to understand my anxiety and myself when I actually just had someone to talk to without distraction. I continued therapy for years but eventually stopped because I felt it was no longer working with my particular counselor. As I continued to grow older, my anxiety grew with me. I had a rough time getting bullied in school and was eventually transferred to another school.
I always worried about my parent’s financial situation sending me to a private school and also taking care of my sister with multiple disabilities. I recall feeling out of place with my classmates. I would come home and panic to my parents that I hated it and people were rich and snotty and I griped about how I couldn’t handle the new fast paced curriculum that the other kids were already used to. In hindsight – It was no big deal. Everyone learns at their own pace.
When I got to college it was a whole new story. Instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost 15 pounds. I couldn’t sleep or eat, and I worried and cried about every single thing under the sun. I tried going home every weekend to visit family to try to calm me down, but I eventually realized this was something I had to take on myself.
I decided to accept treatment from my new psychiatrist and take certain medications to help calm my anxiety. I am happy to say that in my case, this treatment was slightly effective and to have even slight relief was a colossal improvement for me. I am in no way saying that medication works for everyone because everyone truly is different, but that is one of many options that can ease the burden of anxiety.
It is still a major struggle and nothing will ever be perfect, but I am willing to share my story so others may find peace in it and keep trying everything they possibly can without giving up. The stigma around anxiety is that it is for the weak, but this is simply not true. Sure, it may seem weak to cry over not knowing an answer in class, but its important to understand the build up. Anxiety can come in waves or it can stick with you for long periods of time.
There are several treatment options for people dealing with all levels of anxiety that are not just centered on medication. In Westminster alone, there are over 40 private practice psychologists/psychiatrists and about 4 bigger counseling practices that include a variety of therapists and new strategies to managing anxiety. An on-campus option is the Wellness Center, located in the Winslow Center on the second floor.
An off campus option that is available only three minutes away; at 250 Englar Road, Suite 3, Westminster, Maryland, is New Path Counseling Center, which is a center that focuses on a wide range of anxiety and many other disorders.
There are several options only a few minutes away from campus. So many people struggle with anxiety that makes them feel out of control. Sometimes you have to try everything before something finally helps, but it’s without a doubt worth the work.