When you have an anxiety disorder, it sometimes seems like it’s impossible to go down the same path as everyone else. We live in a fast-paced, loud world, and it’s hard to survive in a world that isn’t catered towards people with anxiety disorders. Further, Society says that if we don’t take the one “right” path, we’re somehow “failures”.
This couldn’t be more wrong. Take me, for example. I’m a full-time college student, but my college experience so far has been anything but ordinary.
During my senior year of high school, I was accepted to a four-year private college, and they gave me a generous scholarship. Long story short, the stresses of college exacerbated my anxiety disorder to the point that I withdrew after a single semester. After that, I felt like I was incapable of getting a Bachelor’s degree. I wanted to get a Bachelor’s degree so badly, but it just seemed impossible.
After I withdrew, I transferred to a local community college and lived at home while I finished my Associate of Arts degree. During high school, I earned 24 credits of dual credit, so I was almost halfway to an Associate’s degree. An Associate of Arts degree at this school was similar to a General Studies degree. After three semesters, I finished my Associate’s degree, which meant I finished all of my basics for a Bachelor’s degree.
This past semester, I transferred to a four-year public college. It was a big adjustment, since I moved closer to school. At times, my anxiety took its toll on me; I had panic attacks, but thankfully, they were fewer and less severe than they had been. It was hard to start over and find new friends. I didn’t know how I was going to make it to the end of the semester in one piece, much less do well in my classes. In fact, I lost track of the number of times I wanted to throw in the towel. I could’ve shut down, withdrawn for the semester, moved back in with my parents, and lived with them for the foreseeable future.
But that’s not what happened.
Instead, I found an amazing therapist who’s helped me so much. I found my school’s youth group and became an active member. While I leaned on my parents for support, I created my own support network at school to help me. I sought disability accommodations for my classes. I created a self-care routine that worked for me.
Because of this, and more, I was successful beyond my wildest dreams; I got a 4.0 GPA.
As for this semester, things have been easier in some ways. I know my way around campus better, I have my youth group friends, and I have a support network both at home and school. As of this writing, I have straight A’s again for this semester.
My point in bringing up this story is this: it’s important to be patient with your journey through life. It may take you longer to find your path, but the successes you’ll experience on the right path are worth the wait. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that there’s only one path.
Despite your disorder, you can do anything you set your mind to. If you want it, there’s usually a way to make it happen. Everyone has a path that’s right for them. You will find your path, and you will be successful according to your definition of success.