Devon s Story
“Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. That’s all I could think about, I just had to keep breathing and I knew that I could be okay, eventually. I was lying on the ﬂoor of my bathroom trembling, it felt like I had been struck by lightning and all of my nerves were on ﬁre. My hair was covered in my vomit and I just kept saying keep breathing. I couldn’t move, yet my whole body was shaking. I just kept breathing and then eventually when I was able to calm down I thought, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ ‘Why is this happening?’
I had been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder the year before, but it was getting worse. More medicine said my doctor. More therapy said my mom. More exercise and less medicine said my dad. Different Doctor said my parents. More strength said my ‘friends.’ I said nothing.
I was listening to everybody except for me. I was put on more meds, I was in more therapy, I was working out whenever I could, I was seeing a doctor my mom loved, and I was dragging myself through the pain. It got worse and nothing was helping.
The medicine was great at masking the pain, but never really did anything for my anxiety- all it did was keep me numb. I felt next to nothing and part of me loved it, but the other part was trying to escape. Every day was a battle to get my feet on the ﬂoor and to act as if everything I was feeling wasn’t real.
I was so exhausted by the end of my ﬁrst semester of college I just wanted to quit, all I ever wanted to do was go home and just be. I wasn’t me anymore, but there was still a tiny piece of me that the medication had not suffocated yet, that told me that I could do it and keep ﬁghting.
Finally I realized what was wrong, it was the medication and I needed to get off it. So I did what was every psychiatrists worst nightmare was- I stopped. No phone call, no appointment, no reason. In my mind it was a trial run because I was home so I knew that none of the scary things that sent shockwaves to my core could get me, I was safe.
A week after stopping my medication, I had an appointment with a very unhappy psychiatrist. She obviously disapproved of my methods, but understood my reasoning. I told her that I didn’t want to go back on the medication because, to me, it wasn’t worth it anymore…
Fast forward a year and I could not have imagined or predicted where I was. I was happy and living with my anxiety. I was able to realize what my triggers were and ﬁgured out how to deal with them. Yes, I still had some anxiety attacks, but they were nowhere close to what I had experienced. I learned how to embrace myself instead of trying to reject myself. I learned how to heal.
Fast forward almost exactly two years from coming off of my medication and I can say with conﬁdence that I have completely conquered my anxiety. My life is no longer ruled by my fears. I am now able to do things which would have sent me into a cold panic before. There are no frantic 2AM phone calls to my parents. There is just me.
I can’t say that I wish I never had anxiety though. I’m so appreciative to it and all it has taught me. It taught me that I can do whatever I put my mind to. It taught me how to be stubborn and not settle for anything less than I deserve. It taught me how to believe in myself. It taught me how to be excellent and I will always be thankful. Most importantly, it taught me how to be me.“