One second. One minute. One hour. One day.
That’s how I moved forward after my friend’s death. My anxiety had hit a breaking point and I was on the slow path toward feeling better.
I spent the rest of junior year at home with my parents and a plethora of schoolwork. I ended the year with passable marks (except in one course, but really who can pass chemistry without being in the classroom?). While my friends were getting ready for junior prom, taking the SATs, and enjoying their carefree teenage years, I was at home learning how to live with anxiety and move forward with my life.
I’m going to rush through the rest of high school because it was pretty unremarkable. I dedicated the summer between junior and senior years to recuperating. I took a few fun summer school classes (guitar and music theory) to get used to sitting in the classroom again. I slowly began to see friends again. By the time senior year began, I felt almost 100 percent like myself.
My senior year was typical of most teenagers. I took the SATs. I applied and was accepted to my first choice college. I hung out with friends. I made bad decisions (more on that later). I smoked cigarettes for a short period because I thought it was cool. I got my driver’s license. I went to senior prom. While I still experienced some anxiety and panic, it had become more like a nagging ache instead of an all-encompassing, crippling pain. It no longer had complete control over my life.
The biggest accomplishment of all was graduating. At my worst the year prior, school officials didn’t think I would graduate let alone go to college. I had my doubts for awhile and even considered getting my GED during the height of my anxious period. At that time, the thought of going back to school was unfathomable. But I proved everyone wrong, including myself, and I will always be proud of that.