Juliana was one of those teens that everyone else looked up to. She was popular among her classmates, pretty, talented, and smart. She excelled in all her classes and was active in swimming and basketball after school. She was the kind of student that had it all together – on the outside.
On the inside, however, she somehow kept it all in. All the worries, fears, and anxieties were held firmly within the boundaries of her heart. No one else knew the inner experiences that Juliana was having, and at times, not even Juliana knew that there was a problem.
Until one afternoon, she was preparing for her part in the school play. She was sitting down with script in hand and she couldn’t focus. She had a hard time keeping her attention on the words she had to memorize. Instead, her thoughts kept diverting to her boyfriend. She continued to have thoughts in her mind about whether they were going to stay together, how long their relationship was going to last, whether it was based on anything firm, and the feelings she would have if they ever separated.
Her lack of concentration and the fears of losing her boyfriend continued to get worse and worse. She became more and more convinced that she was going to lose her relationship and that her world was going to fall apart. Her anxieties got so bad that she couldn’t eat, she wasn’t sleeping, and in general, she wasn’t feeling well. Juliana decided to stay home from school for the rest of the week, where she continued to fear the loss of her relationship.
Finally, she made the decision that any relationship causing so much stress wasn’t worth having around. When she ended the relationship a week later, her anxiety only got worse. In fact, fears about other aspects of her life continued to flare up. She was worried now that the inner tension she was experiencing would interfere with her grades and that her school performance would decline.
Her anxiety became so bad – it seemed to be compounding upon itself – that she wasn’t able to focus in her classes and she found herself trembling at times. Although her parents tried to help, their suggestions only indicated that they didn’t understand what she was going through. Their attempts to help her made her feel more and more misunderstood and alienated.
The last thing that Juliana wanted to hear from them was the suggestion to see a psychologist. One thing that her parents were right about was that there was something wrong. Although they couldn’t understand what that was, they understood well enough that there was something they could do about it.
Although deep down Juliana knew that it was a good idea and that she might be able to get the support she needed and yearned for, she begged her parents not to go. But of course, eventually she did. Eventually, Juliana made it to a mental health professional.
What caught Juliana off guard was that the psychologist only wanted to talk. He didn’t send her off to some institution, and he didn’t talk to her parents behind her back. He was an open and honest source of support. Sure, he asked the questions he needed to arrive at a diagnosis. After he reviewed her symptoms, the severity of her impaired functioning, and the mental health history of her family, Juliana was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It’s a diagnosis given to those who experience excessive and irrational worry for at least six months. The excessive anxiety interferes with the ability to function and usually consists of extreme anxiety for everyday matters.
Going to therapy was the answer Juliana was looking for. There she was able to get the emotional support she needed as well as medication that helped make her symptoms of anxiety manageable. In the end, she was able to move on with her life, leaving fear behind and making room for joy.
This above story is an adaption to the story posted here:
“Anxiety: Rachel’s Story.” TeensHealth. Retrieved on June 10, 2014 from: http://teenshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/anxiety_rachel.html#
By Robert Hunt
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