Beyond the fear
“It’s always good to have a stash of ideas tucked away because you’re bound to run into the blank screen of boredom sooner or later.” - One of our designers said
Recently, Ayesha Curry, along with her mother-in-law and little sister sat down to join Jada Pinkett Smith for Red Table Talk. Across the plethora of topics discussed, anxiety was one of them. Anytime someone mentions anxiety, it makes me think about my own struggle and how I cope with it. I was diagnosed with anxiety during my first semester of college. I can vividly remember this day. I was away from home, enjoying my first year of college, putting on the freshman 15, and of course, studying hard. Though I enjoyed occasionally, I wasn’t much of a partier. As a pre-med major, my sole focus was maintaining good grades. I studied, alot, with my peers and with my tutors as midterms quickly approached. In addition, my Biology instructor gave a quiz each time we attended class. I was swamped!
The professor finally posted a study guide for the midterms and I printed it before meeting with my roommate and friends for lunch. I asked my roommate to hold on to it for as I didn’t have anywhere to safely keep it. We enjoyed lunch, joked around and then parted ways until later. I went back to the room to rest. When I got up to study, I realized that I didn’t have my study guide. I called my roommate to see if she would bring me the study guide but she said she didn’t have it nor could she find it. I panicked and searched high and low to make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. I searched and searched but still came up short so I decided to go back to the lab to print it out again. I was hesitant because it costs to print and as a struggling college student, I had to be very careful with money.
I made it to the computer lab just in time to see that it was closed! Now, I’m really stressed. Trying to calm myself down, I decided that I would wait until my roommate came back to double check her things. In the meantime, I visited a guy that I was dating because I knew that would make me feel a whole lot better.
My college campus housed victims and families of Hurricane Katrina at our gymnasium where I volunteered. My guys was a refugee and transferred to my campus. Oftentimes, we would lay side by side and talk about his life in New Orleans. As we were watching tv, my mind constantly drifted back to my study guide. Suddenly, I started shaking in a seizure-like motion as if my body was responded to me being overwhelmed. My guy picks me up and carries me to the foyer of the dorm rooms. There, the resident assistant calls the ambulance. At this time, I am slowly in and out of consciousness and still shaking convulsively. I can feel that the people beside me are trying to keep my head steady. I hear him yell to someone to get my brother. The ambulance arrives and my brother is sitting beside me.
Hours later, I wake up in a hospital bed surrounded by my roommate and friends. When they noticed my eyes were opened, they told me that I suffered a panic attack. I tried to speak but noticed that my speech was slurred and broken. I felt tired and embarrassed by the chaos I caused.
After my mom arrived, the doctors released me with a prescription and the advice to temporarily remove me from academic pursuits. I had one pill to take everyday and another to take only when panic attacks occurred. I felt like a failure, a college dropout, and I was reluctant to go home. I went home but the strong-willed little girl inside me wasn’t going to accept defeat. After being home for a few days, I felt better physically and mentally but my speech was still delinquent. I was preparing to go back to school but suffered another panic attack. It was on a Wednesday night. My mom attended church regularly so she took me with her. I brought my school materials so I could study. I am still unclear about the full details but it happened again…right there at church. I remember my aunt getting inside of the car doing what she does best, praying! No ambulance, just Jesus.
It ceased but after that night, I suffered two more and I’m sure the cause of it was from me not willing to give up my studies. My mother took me back to the doctor and discussed what had taken place. He firmly told her that I didn’t need to return to school for the remainder of the semester. Heartbroken and discouraged, I withdrew from school. Returning to say goodbye to my friends and my New Orleans Beau was probably one of the hardest things I had to do. I was forced to let go of my dream to become a doctor – at least for the time being.
Later, I would learn that a dream deferred is not a dream denied. Years later and I am back in school. I still suffer from anxiety but it is not as bad as it once was. As an adult, I have more stressors including being a single parent to three beautiful children. Throughout the years, I’ve found that journaling, working out, talking about it, breathing, and accepting things I cannot change works. Ha. Let’s not forget about naps. Naps are the perfect remedy for everything!
Jeanisha, Wifey N Training Staff Member