I needed help when I was in 3rd grade, so my parents found me a therapist. Her job was to help me control my intense fear of well, everything. First, it was going to school. I only remember a little bit of my childhood, to be honest, I think I blocked a lot of it out when my thoughts grew dark.
Going to school is something many children hate, myself included, but I think most children handled better than I did. I remember waking up every Sunday, full of worry. Sunday was the weekend to everyone, but for me, it was just a whole day full of worrying about school tomorrow. I’d wake up bright and early Monday morning feeling slightly ill and a little on edge, I was worried about something relating to school, but I had no idea why. I always said I couldn’t go to school, not because I was sick, but because I just couldn’t go.
To others, this made no sense, but my mom understood me well. She knew I was an anxious child from the beginning, and this was a common occurrence. I would still have to go to school; my mom was a teacher of all things, so she would drive me when this happened.
Panic is all I remember feeling. I recall my mom having to drag me into school and meet with someone from the ‘stop and think’ area would pull me from her. I was transferred from my mother to a staff member. Often, she would ask me questions such as: why are you so scared, is someone in school being mean to you, is everything okay at home, etc. Everything was okay, so I would just nod and say I didn’t know why I was so upset.
Adults around me didn’t understand how I felt or why I was so scared, but neither did I. It was like being terrified of green and having no logical explanation for why you’re afraid of green. The anxiety of being afraid, but not knowing why. I always just told everyone who asked that I didn’t know what was wrong or why I was scared. They would just stop asking, and when I would eventually calm down, I would be lead into my classroom to begin my day.
In addition to school anxiety, I hated being away from my family when I was young. The idea of being away from my parents would trigger an anxiety attack. Sleeping at friends’ houses was only an idea for me. I wanted to stay over, and I would even make plans, but when it came bedtime, I would call home and beg my mom to pick me up. I felt a mix of guilt and relief as she drove me back home, but I didn’t have a choice, I truly believed I couldn’t stay over at someone else’s house.
Then there was my moral compass. I lived each day, fearful of doing something wrong because I viewed the world in black and white. Making a mistake was always on my mind, and when I felt that I had made one, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of guilt. To this day, I can say that I don’t think I will ever feel as guilty about anything than the constant, but unnecessary guilt I felt as a young child.