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The life of an American teen: Dealing with demons


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For as long as I can remember I have been terrified of two things: my basement and our mudroom. I’ve lived in my house for 13 years and those areas of my house still scare me to this day, just not to the degree of before. When I was a kid I refused to go anywhere near those places. My brothers thought I was being a drama queen trying to get mom to do everything for me. I started to believe them, that I was just a crazy kid who wanted my mom at my beck and call. We didn’t know it then but my fears would not only live at my house.

As I got older I became scared of more things. It was more than just being scared, these fears paralyzed me. Normal anxieties for everyone would cause me to have panic attacks ending with me throwing up. On the first day of school I would throw up. Before giving a presentation I would throw up. Before any confrontation I would throw up. I thought this was normal, I thought every person experienced this. In some aspects that is true, every person does have some level of anxiety, just not the degree of my anxiety.

My biggest anxiety gets many laughs and questions. I don’t go to the bathroom during school. Yes, you read that right. No medication or therapy has taken that fear out of my head. No amount of mocking or questioning has taken these fears from me.

It is very hard to explain the why behind this. It is a lot of different things. With the prevalence of school shootings my anxiety has skyrocketed. I am absolutely terrified of being locked in a bathroom during a shooting. People often say ‘Wouldn’t you be more safe in the bathroom?’ that’s probably true but that is just not how my brain works.

It wouldn’t be until my freshman year that we realized why my brain was working that way. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, along with depression (but that’s another story). I began therapy to work through my demons. While that was working it wasn’t enough. I was put on medication to help with both my anxiety and depression.

At first medication freaked me out. I was up all night worrying about the one thing that was supposed to take all my worries away. I didn’t understand how one pill can change you so much. Truthfully, I still don’t understand. But what I do know is I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my therapy and medication.

The stigma around mental health causes people to shy away from talking about these issues. I am so tired of people being afraid to admit that they go to therapy or take a medication. It is not a bad thing. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of a broken bone. Everyone suffers from mental health, the degree to which they suffer differs but everyones has anxiety. You are not alone in what you are feeling.

It is a very sad and scary to be a young girl paralyzed but fears of the unknown. I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through on my worst enemy. But, as I’ve grown up I have realized that my anxieties are a part of me. I am never going to outgrow them, if I do more will just come along. Fear of my basement still haunts me to this day. But I can go downstairs now without fear of someone following me.

The first thing I do when I wake up is swallow two pills. I put my faith in these little, white pills to take away my demons. Therapy and medication has allowed me to grow from a young girl paralyzed by fear to an adult ready to go to college and take this world by storm.

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The life of an American teen: Dealing with demons