Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Let’s Talk About It: Some things take time

Posted on April 11, 2017 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By: Johnna Ossie, News Editor

I’ve been thinking about how sometimes trying to heal is so painstakingly slow that I barely notice it happening. Sometimes it feels like for every two steps forward I take 10 steps back, and that I’m always trying to catch up with myself. And I’ve been thinking about this quote from author Cheryl Strayed: “The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”

My first year of college I had panic attacks so often that I had to email all my professors at the start of the semester to let them I know I would probably miss class once a week because of it. I had a specific spot in my house for having panic attacks in. I had whole systems and routines for exiting campus the most efficiently, for getting home without running into anyone, to avoid leaving my apartment. My whole life orbited around my panic attacks.

I couldn’t understand how nothing was changing. I did all the things I thought I was supposed to do. I went to therapy once a week, twice a week I lay on a table and let an acupuncturist poke me with needles, I went to yoga and lay on smelly wooden floor at the YMCA, I stopped eating sugar, I took vitamin D, I wrote in my journal, on and on. When those things didn’t work I took medication for my anxiety, but I still felt like nothing was

I also worried that everyone around me was wondering why I couldn’t hurry up and get over it already. I felt totally isolated in my anxiety, and like no one could really understand what I was experiencing. Turns out I was wrong about that (as I am about a lot of things). Turns out when you start talking about things, the weight of them can get a little bit lighter.

Last week I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I had a panic attack, and I couldn’t figure out when the change had even happened. Everything I was doing felt so small and useless, but it was my refusal to give up even though it felt that way that got me here. One step at a time seems trite, but I guess it’s true. All big growth starts with small growth, sometimes so tiny you have to squint to see it’s even there.

 

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