By: Stephanie Doheny
Asst. Features Editor
Picture this: a girl shaking uncontrollably on her bed. Not knowing why or how to stop it. She can hear certain words, but eyes clenched she sees nothing, just blackness. She continues to shake uncontrollably to the point where her friends have to call for help because they don’t know what to do. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to them, there’s nothing that anyone can do. Eventually the shakes subside and she awakens, confused, dazed, out of breath, physically and mentally exhausted.
Hi there…I’m that girl. My name is Stephanie. I am one of your classmates here at Sacred Heart University. I have Anxiety and Pseudo-Seizure Anxiety Attacks.
Before you ask any questions… why don’t we start from the beginning?
Ever since I was in middle school, I was “different.” I never looked like anyone else. I was always “the bigger girl” as some of my classmates liked to say. I was bullied. I didn’t have a lot of friends and that really hurt. Nothing seemed different though. I didn’t feel different, just sad, most of the time.
Fast forward to high school… a little voice in my head started creeping in. I questioned everything I did. Did people like me? Was I good enough? Was I overweight? And everything else you can imagine a high school girl could ask herself. I felt nervous and sad, all of the time.
Over time while sitting at home, usually after eating dinner, I would notice my hands start to shake uncontrollably. Slowly it turned into my arms and eventually my whole body. I would curl up into a ball and whimper in pain from my stomach muscles, all my muscles for that matter, being locked into place.
Over the course of my sophomore and junior year, these “episodes” were constant. I was in the hospital, monitors hooked up to every part of my body imaginable.
I was so frustrated. At this point I really just wanted to figure out what was wrong.
After all the tests and all doctor’s appointments, nothing. No one could tell me what was wrong.
So, I trekked on and simply dealt with everything. The shaking, the voice in my head, feeling sad all the time.
However, it got to a point where I couldn’t handle it on my own anymore. What I didn’t know at the time though was that… it’s okay to ask for help if emotionally you don’t feel okay.
I started seeing a therapist my senior year of high school. She diagnosed me with Anxiety and Depression Disorders. While I was scared to hear those words, she assured me that we would work together and get to the bottom of what was going on inside my head.
And so we did just that. She talked me through everything. The voice, my emotions, my shaking. Eventually she was able to explain what was going on with my body. My body’s way of releasing my emotions and anxiety was physically. Make any sense? Nope, didn’t think so. I was confused and frustrated too.
Over time I figured it out and worked on controlling my episodes, harnessing my anxiety and realizing that on matter what anyone said, I was and I am, enough.
It’s been eight years. I’m a senior now. I still struggle with my disorder everyday. It hasn’t “gone away” and is still something I still continue to work on.
I’m not the only one. More people than you know struggle with anxiety, whether they are diagnosed or not. Your best friend? She could have the biggest smile on her face and still go home and cry every night thinking no one loves her. That girl sitting alone by herself at 63’s? Yup, her too.
I’m here to remind you that you are not alone. Your emotions are okay and you are not stupid for feeling a certain way. You are loved. You are worth it too.