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“Yesterday was one of those high anxiety days. I’m about to travel to Missouri. I was having anxiety about the trip itself and about trying to keep up with school while I’m out of town. That always gives me anxiety.

Academic anxiety in general is something I’ve always had.

My first memories of my anxiety starting to get bad are from middle school. Being anxious about going to class, anxious about having a test and not feeling like I'm prepared for it. I get a lot of imposter syndrome. A lot of: I am not good enough for this. I don’t belong here. Everyone else is smarter than me.

I was in marching band – drumline – and there was this one boy on drumline who was pretty mean to me. I wasn’t super confident with my drum playing, and him giving me a hard time made my anxiety even worse.

My panic attacks would end with me crying or throwing up. Two things I did NOT want to do in front of my peers. That was a real fear of mine. So aside from my academic anxiety, I was also worried I would have a panic attack outside my home – at school, around other people, in front of the drumline boy.

My overall anxiety would be so bad in the morning that I would have a complete meltdown when I was trying to get out the door. In high school it got really bad – to the point where I would start missing school.

Teenagers can be mean. Even if they're not mean to your face, they talk behind your back, like, ‘Oh, do you see her crying? She's crying for no reason – she's so emotional.’ I hear them talk about other people like that, and I didn't want them talking about me like that.

I definitely worked to hide any mental health issues I had in high school because I felt like they made me different – and I didn't want to give the students any more reason to make fun of me.”


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