This started four years ago. I was in the 8th grade at that time. It was a regular day at school and all of a sudden I felt extremely uneasy – it was almost like I was suffering a heart attack and was about to die. I quickly made my way home and gradually began to feel better. At that time, I didn’t quite understand what was happening to me - it was more like an anxiety attack, I assumed.
After this, I was scared to go back to school, or any public place for that matter. What if that anxiety attack happened again, I thought to myself, and decided to stay put at home. Honestly, I was the kind of person who loved going out to different places. Staying home all day, every day, was very upsetting, but the thought of going somewhere and feeling uneasy was what scared me more.
Slowly, this really got to me. I would wonder if I would ever get back to normal life. I was so conscious of this happening again that I didn’t talk about my anxiety disorder to anyone. Not even to my parents, because I thought they’d feel that I had lost my mind. So there was nothing that I could do and no one whom I could talk to either. The only place where I felt completely safe was my home.
I began to believe that I probably did something drastically wrong, some sort of bad karma because of which I was being punished. Little did I know this was, in fact, Agoraphobia. And just when I reached a point of giving up and that too in as drastic a way as ending my own life, I developed a strength within me that pushed me to help myself.
Here’s how I overcame my worst fear – I decided to face my fear and figure out ways to fight back. I saw children of my age having a good time and felt terrible about myself, so I decided to start by heading out to places where I was most comfortable (apart from my home, of course). I then, gradually went to places where I was less comfortable, and so on. I would feel uneasy at these places but I pushed myself and never lost faith. This effort gave me a lot of confidence and I began to feel much better about myself. I realized there was nothing to be afraid of.
Finally, I was able to live like a normal person and I began to live in the present rather than worrying about having another panic attack. It took me almost two years to overcome my problems with anxiety and I never thought I would live a normal life, but I did!
I learnt some valuable life lessons from this experience. I believe that no matter what, one should never lose hope because there’s always a way. You just have to keep looking for it. And the wonderful things that follow are what make it worth the wait.