Last night, I found an old journal and decided to curl up and read it for awhile.
A chunk of my writing got me to thinking about something I went through about 6 years ago.
To make a long story somewhat shorter, I'll try to explain briefly.
My senior year of high school, I decided to go to Purdue University.
I was beyond excited, and was looking forward to getting out of the small town I lived it, going off on my own, and having the "college experience."
(This is me sitting outside the education building on campus during my final visit where I took my placement tests and got my ID and stuff.)
The summer before I left is when my anxiety disorder really developed. I was having panic attacks all the time (except I didn't know that's what they were back then, so I thought there was something seriously crazy going on with me.) But I never told anyone. The closer I got to leaving, the more scared and anxious I became. I could hardly go anywhere by myself. When I got down to the school a week early, I literally couldn't function, and I didn't understand why. I had gone down there early to participate in a freshman activity week, but I couldn't go to many of the functions because I was having panic attacks. I stayed locked up in my dorm room alone and miserable. This wasn't what it was supposed to be like. I just kept getting this intense feeling that I wasn't supposed to be there, and that this was the totally wrong choice for me. Almost like something bad would happen if I stayed.
I began calling my parents several times a day, bawling and begging for them to come get me and to not make me stay. Looking back, I can only assume they thought I was homesick, because I'm sure that's what it sounded like. I just didn't know how to communicate what I was going through. After a few days, they gave in (not happily), came down to the school, packed up my stuff, and took me home.
I hate thinking back to that car trip home. It was just me and my dad on the way home and I felt so low. Here I was, supposedly a "grown up" 19 year old, and I couldn't even attend 1 college class...and I still didn't understand why at that point. My parents had forked over all this money for tuition, boarding, meal plans, stuff for my dorm room, etc. This was a time where they were supposed to be proud of their little girl, but now my dad was driving me home before I even started. I felt like such a disappointment. The entire ride was silent.
I went through a rough couple months trying to get into our local community college, find a job, and get back into a somewhat normal routine to show my parents that I was still going to work hard and accomplish everything that I had originally planned on. It was by far the lowest point in my life so far. I'd never really failed at anything before...now I had, and it had affected not only me, but my parents as well. So I had something to prove now. It was a hard first year, because I still didn't know what was going on with me. Not until after two years of dealing with it silently, did I finally realize that I was suffering from an anxiety disorder and decided to seek help. And that's when everything began to turn around.
So I just want to take this moment and say something to my parents:
Mom and Dad, I'm so sorry for what I put you both through that summer. I'm sorry for all the time, effort, and money that was wasted. I'm sorry for the heartache and pain I put you through every time I called home, because I'm sure you thought I was just being a baby and was making a careless choice, but you still didn't want to hear me so upset. I appreciate that you didn't treat me terribly because of the decision I made to come home, even though things were rough with us all at first. I hope that throughout the last 6 years, I've made you proud. I went to school locally and got good grades, held down decent jobs, got my degree in education, found an amazing man to marry, and have begun my career as a teacher. I just want you to know that I appreciate the support you've shown me along the way, and I hope that you don't regret coming to get me that day and bring me home.
They say that everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that. In the moment, I could not for the life of me think of any reason there could be for the stress I went through that year and the following before getting help for my anxiety. But I know that the life I have now would not have been the same one I would have had, had I chosen to stick it out at Purdue. Had I not come home, I know I wouldn't have met Ty. I probably would have partied a lot more than I would have studied. Or maybe the anxiety would have gotten even worse than it already was, and I could have had some kind of medical problems. I doubt I would be living where I'm at now, and may not have even stuck with teaching. I'll never know for sure. All I do know is that I'm 100% content right now, and I hope that I've made everyone proud.