Thursday, June 14, 2012

looking back.

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 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.

1 comment:

  1. Lisa...there's something you don't know. The day we took you to Purdue was a very proud moment for your dad and I and at the same time my heart was breaking. It was the first time we would be apart since you were born. When your dad and I went to the car that day to leave, I wouldn't let him pull out of the parking space. We sat there, in the car and I cried and cried. When we got home and you started calling begging us to come get you...well, that is exactly what I wanted to do. But, we did think you were homesick and felt it was our place to use tough love to get you through the first week or two. It was the hardest thing I think I've ever done for you. But, soon we realized that something wasn't right, so we brought you home. I want you to know that I'm glad we did and we never regreted it. You have done nothing but make us proud. :) On the bright side, money might have been wasted in the begining, but a whole lot of money was save in the end!