Overcoming My Anxiety Essay Example
Growing up, I experienced difficulty socializing and creating friendships. Public speaking was my top fear. The thought of presenting, reading aloud, or speaking in front of the class made my palms sweat, my heart race, and my stomach turn. It was not until my Freshman year when I realized it was time for a change.
It was my hardest year of high school. My anxiety was at its all-time high and my self-confidence at its all-time low. I entered a larger school with new students, started a new sport, and my breasts doubled their size over the summer. My self-consciousness resulted in me feeling awkward and downright ugly throughout the year. I was uncomfortable in both my body and social settings. It was the second semester when my anxiety peaked.
I had an English class in the morning on B-days and absolutely dreaded it. I was afraid the teacher would call on me to read, I would stutter, mispronounce words, and would be seen as uneducated. It worsened to the point where waking up on a B-day consisted of an accelerated heartbeat, a nauseous feeling in my stomach, and shaking hands due to fear. I dealt with this for 3 months until an assignment in U.S. History changed the rest of my semester.
In U.S. History, we were assigned a skit to act out with a partner in front of the class. The night before we had to present was restless. The thought of being in front of my class made me nauseous and I became so overwhelmed I cried in the middle of the night. At 2 in the morning, I emailed my history teacher, Mr. Boyd. I explained to him how my anxiety was swallowing me whole, how I despised the effect it had on me, and how I could not do the skit. Certain language in the email raised red flags and my teacher and principals saw it as me hinting I was suicidal.
My original plan for the next day was to stay home and relax until the school called my mother asking for a meeting that morning. When I arrived at school, I went directly to the principal’s office. The meeting was a little embarrassing. The head principal, my class principal, and my class counselor were there. Though I was apprehensive about explaining my personal battles to them, I opened up. It felt nice being able to relieve myself of the trouble of keeping the emotions bottled up. After the meeting, I decided to stay at school.
Mr. Boyd was generous enough to not have me participate in skit assignment. When the class ended, he expressed how his wife suffers from anxiety and other mental illnesses, so he understood what I was going through. He then said if I ever felt too anxious, I could sit in his room until it settled down. It may not seem much, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. It felt amazing to have someone to confide in and not be so harsh on myself.
From that point on, I started to challenge my anxiety. My goal was to raise my hand, at least once, to answer a question or read a few words in every class. If it became too much, I refused to degrade myself for not participating. I would simply say “maybe next time.” Challenging myself caused me to put more effort into other activities as well. In cheer, I would challenge myself to be louder, get more involved with the crowd, and to do a jump by myself or with others every quarter of the game. This resulted in me being one of two sophomores who made it onto Varsity the following year.
Looking back, I realized how confident I have grown. I am more outgoing, talkative, optimistic, and positive. I am no longer afraid of presenting and I am more comfortable in social settings. I have decided to live by the phrase “this too shall pass.” It reminds me of how my anxiety was once something I battled with, but now it is not as relevant anymore. It also reminds me that I will face other hardships in life, but I will be able to overcome them. To this day, I am strongly grateful and appreciative of Mr. Boyd. Without his kind words and a safe place, my anxiety would still run my life today.