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20170629 Vicki Gardner Century 21

home : columns : all columnists July 26, 2017

7/10/2017 4:43:00 AM
Ashlyn Martin: Recovering from grip of anxiety
About Ashlyn Martin
Ashlyn Martin is our Spring 2017 Hauser intern for HSJ Online. She is a junior at Hauser Junior-Senior High School. She is an avid reader and writer who also loves playing the piano. She writes all the time, unless she is busy painting or reading. She has completed one book, which she is in the process of self-publishing. Her main goal, her dream aspiration, is to become an art therapist at a children's hospital, because she loves working with kids.

By Ashlyn Martin


For the past few months, you have read bits and pieces of my life that may or may not have been relate-able. You have become one of those people that now know about the most difficult part of my life -- so far, at least. But there is still something else, just as important as everything before, that you need to know.

I would not change any of it.

Maybe I sound like I am being silly. Would not change any of it? What if I had the chance to choose a life without my anxiety disorders? Well, I still would pick the life I have lived.

Don't get me wrong. Yes, there were so many times that I hated what I have to live with. I hated constantly missing classes due to panic attacks. I hated being afraid to eat food anywhere other than in my own house. I hated losing two different jobs to anxiety, not being able to drive for months on end, being afraid of being alone, worrying that every day would be the last day I ever got.

Life was so rough for those four years. It was even difficult before, when anxiety threaded itself through my entire childhood, but we had no idea what it was. I felt, and sometimes still feel, like I was robbed of my opportunities to be a typical kid or a happy-go-lucky teenager. But that does not change the fact that I would not choose differently for myself.

My anxiety has played a huge part in the person I have become. It made me strong beyond what my family and I ever thought it could. It made me live a life of what felt like an everyday constant stream of struggles. Where a typical person might go leisurely through their day, I had to push and fight my way through every hour.

Sometimes, though you have to accept that you might not be able to fight everything yourself. When it was the worst it had ever been, my family realized that I needed help, and after going through therapy three different times, we knew that it was not quite enough. The last routine of therapy was when I found the doctor who told me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with taking some medicine to make the fighting just a tad bit easier. So, that is what I did.

My anxiety is also what gave me my future aspirations: becoming an art therapist. Why? Because I understand exactly how it feels to fight through days feeling like it will ever end and nothing will ever get better. My anxiety gave me this huge compassionate side of wanting to work with and help people in similar situations, because I know how hard it can be.

After multiple years with this anxiety weighing me down, I can tell you that my life has changed dramatically, ever since that doctor who put me on the lowest possible dose of anxiety medicine she could prescribe. It felt unreal to suddenly face the day without a million worries zipping around in my brain.

Now, I am starting to face the beginning of my senior year and my first year of college classes all at the same time. I work two jobs: one at a local greenhouse, and at the library. When I need to get out or simply want to, I am no longer afraid of sitting behind the wheel of my car.

I am writing my book and working on publishing another one. I am doing so many things that I was never able to do before. I went from hardly being able to get out of bed in the morning to this.

Anxiety has changed me. But no matter how awful it started out. I am happy with the end results.

If you need living proof that it gets better, here I am.



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