The panic attack during my friend’s funeral wasn’t a one-time thing. As the days passed, they became more and more frequent. I began having trouble sleeping, spending a significant amount of time crying and shaking at night, being consoled by my father.
The worst, though, occurred during the school day. I would get up every day and go to school, but shortly after classes began, the panic started. It was particularly bad in my AP U.S. Government class, where the teacher called me out one day on my anxiety and told me to get it together. I began spending more time in the nurse’s office than in a classroom.
I remember one day, I walked to school in the morning and went into my homeroom class. There was still some time before school officially began and I felt the anxiety and panic start to creep in. I decided to leave school and walk home before the day even began.
However, my teacher saw me come into the building and when I didn’t show up in homeroom, she became concerned. Neither of my parents were home and I didn’t tell them I left, so no one called my absence into the school. Knowing that I was emotionally unstable, the school had no choice but to call the police to come check on me.
Looking back on it now, I wish I could say that was the worst moment but it wasn’t. The worst shortly followed that experience.
Hitting rock bottom
My parents took me back to the original psychiatrist that I had seen two years prior, who prescribed Celexa and Klonopin. I couldn’t swallow pills, so the Celexa was sent to a compound pharmacy and turned into a liquid medication.
I was vehemently opposed to being medicated. So I did what any normal teen would do- I poured the liquid Celexa down the sink drain and refilled the bottle with water. I pretended I was taking the medication but when I didn’t get better, the farce was up.
My psychiatrist switched me to Zoloft (also liquid). I will never forget the day that I had to start it. I was terrified of being medicated. So I took a butcher knife out of the drawer in my parent’s kitchen, pressed it to my wrist, and told my parents if I would slit my wrist if they made me take the medicine. They coaxed the knife out of my hand and gave me two options- take the Zoloft or be hospitalized.
After a lot of yelling and tears, I started taking Zoloft that day. That night and for several nights after, I slept in my parents’ bed with my mom. They were too afraid to leave me by myself even to sleep.
The final straw
My school was accommodating of my anxiety and panic for a while. However, when days turned into weeks, they started to lose patience. My parents were called into meet with the guidance department where they were told that my time spent in the nurse’s office was taking away from the school’s ability to care for its other students. They decided that I would have to finish my junior year of high school on “bed rest.”
So that’s what happened- I spent the last two months of my junior year of high school at home with one of my parents at all times. In the span of a few short weeks, I went from being a normal (albeit moody) teenager to being under “house arrest” and spending months being babysat by one parent at all times.