Andrea Wise

Never has my anxiety been as bad as it was during my first semester of graduate school. The intensity of the program coupled with Syracuse's isolating grey winter led to a pretty rough exasperation of my existing anxiety disorder. By the end of the semester, even the thought of leaving my apartment would trigger my panic attacks. 

As many of you may know, anxiety can be a vicious cycle that's tough to break -- it springs seemingly from nowhere and the more it interferes with your life, the more fuel it has to grow. It can easily feel like your mind is spinning and you have no control.

That's where this piece came from. I felt very alone and struggled to explain to my new friends and professors what I was going through. I couldn't find words for the feeling of being trapped in my own head or feeling an imminent attack and knowing that like an on-coming train, there's no way to stop it. All you can do is try to breathe and remind yourself that it will pass.

Making this piece was really difficult because it's so personal. But when you think about, storytellers ask others every day to open up and share their most intimate, personal stories and moments with the world. I think it's healthy for us to step into their shoes every now and then. It makes us more empathetic storytellers.

And that's why I'm sharing this piece here. And because I hope that someone else with anxiety might see it and feel less alone. If that's you, and you need/want to talk, I'm here anytime.