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Mar 02

Fear of Life

I will be speaking at my former high school on March 7 – giving a presentation to the ninth and tenth graders (approximately 400 students). It was over 13 years ago when I walked, or rather rolled, down those same halls. I’m hoping to connect with some of those students in the half hour allotted to me. I will share my story of overcoming adversity, both physically and mentally. Also, I’ll discuss the adversity in my home life during those years as well.

I’m looking forward to talking about something I was confused and silent about during those years; panic attacks. As a teenager I did not have a clue what was wrong with me. I thought I was going crazy. My body was so full of panic on a regular basis. I would be hot or ice cold, shaking, swallowing hard, and short of breath. Sometimes I would get headaches or an upset stomach. My skin and lips would turn purple from lack of oxygen. I was literally making myself sick.

In the beginning, the triggers for the panic attacks were school, doctors, or going to the dentist. A few years later I could barely leave my home. I was in my early 20’s and I was too scared to live my life. I was miserable and decided to take action to fight this disorder. I will always have some anxiety, everyone does, but with the help of medication and support it no longer runs my life.

I hope I can help a few students who will be or are going through anxiety disorders and be able to at least recognize what the problem is. I want the students to know that they do not have to live in fear and they are not alone – help is out there. I wish anxiety disorders were talked about when I was in high school, but at least this is a start.

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