Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Story by Emily

My Story
By Emily
Hope you get something from it
I'm twenty-six and I have social anxiety and agoraphobia. I've had it since before I can remember, although I wasn't diagnosed until I was twenty-one. Anxiety runs in my family.
I was bullied as a child, though I can't remember a whole lot from my childhood, except for various instances both positive and negative. I don't remember a whole lot of the bullying, just specific feelings and perceptions. I strongly suspect that I was clinically depressed since I was twelve or thirteen years old. I was depressed constantly, always fighting back tears. Getting out of bed was a constant struggle. When I got out of middle school, I improved, but not much. After I graduated high school I started to get worse. I was kicked out of college for missing so many classes, because I was too terrified to leave my apartment.
I had suspected I had a mental illness since I was eleven. I was always terrified of ending up in a straightjacket, and would rather be dead than go to a place where such a thing could occur. I tried to hide my mental illness for as long as I could. I was teased a lot for being weak, although I still think of myself that way. I wanted to be strong, and so I would 'punish' myself by cutting my wrists, starving myself, etc. 
Age thirteen was the worst time period, as I began to think about ending my life. I thought about when or where and how I would do it, what I would leave behind, and what I would write in my note. But I didn't really want to leave and searched for any reason to stay. Right about that time I started developing coping mechanisms. In the end, I decided to suffer through it because dying would hurt my parents. 
My parents had sat me down and told me I really needed to see a psychologist. I was terrified. The people I mostly depended on were throwing me under the bus. But I was too tired to fight them. When I went to the psychologist, I could not have gotten a better one. She was friendly, comforting and classy. We even shared the same political beliefs. She made me feel a whole lot better about everything; it wasn't nearly as horrible as I feared it was going to be. 
I was a bit gun-shy about going back to school because of what happened at MSU. I went to Drury for a while, which was great, but the same problem kept coming up. I got panic attacks every time I thought about going to class. So I went on sabbatical. I got a job at Prometric/Sylvan as a TCA, but I couldn't answer the phone so they had to let me go.
My coping mechanisms included horseback riding, my dog, Spider-Man, Harry Potter, and Digimon stories that exhibit humor and heroism make me feel much better. I've always been a horse nut. I feel very spiritually connected when I'm around horses. I still do those things now, but I also have other tools. I cover my hair with a tichel or head scarf, I employ lavender scents, meditate, pray, exercise, and of course, take my meds. 
My religious path has been long, arduous, and conflicted. One reason I was so adamant that I deserved my pain was I rationalized that God wouldn't let this happen to me if I didn't deserve it. When I was thirteen, I felt that God had abandoned me and so I began questioning Christianity. Now I'm twenty-six, and a polytheist Pagan. But, I'm much happier.

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