Light at the End of the Tunnel

By: Rekita Chenault

It was going to be my first day of middle school. Although I was sad about the summer ending, I was so excited about going to my new school. As I grabbed my bookbag and was about to head out the door, my mom told me not to forget about my chores. “Mom, I always remember. How about, have a great first day at your new school?” I said with frustration. “You’ll be fine.” My mom said. I opened the door and out I went.  

As I was walking down the rocky path towards the bus stop, my heart started racing. My hands were sweaty, and it was hard for me to breathe. I didn’t know what was happening. I had to stop walking and just sit down on the ground.  

I somehow was able to eventually get up and start walking back to my house. Once I got to the front door, I raised my hand up to knock, but I could barely do it. I tried speaking loud enough so my mom could hear me, but I didn’t have the strength to raise my voice.  

Somehow my mom knew I was there, and she opened the door. “What are you doing here? Don’t tell me you missed your bus?” She asked. I ended up collapsing on her. “Mom, something is really wrong. I need to go the doctor now.” “You’re just scared of going to a new school. I don’t have time to deal with this. I have to go to work. I’ll give you a pass today for not going to school but tomorrow, no excuses.” “Mom, you’re not listening to me.” “No, you’re not listening. I’ll see you later.” She said as she rushed out the door.   

Anxious thoughts were racing throughout my mind. Should I just call 911? Will I get in trouble with my mom if I do? I felt so abandoned. About 30 minutes later, I was starting to feel somewhat normal again. That experience was terrifying. To not have my mom right there comforting me made it even worse. I never was taken to the doctor to find out what had happened to me that day.  

After that experience, I was never the same. I had so much anxiety to a point where I couldn’t even think straight.  

It wasn’t until later on in life that I discovered that I had a mental breakdown from all the stress I was feeling from not having my mom simply taking care of me. It affected how I operated in life. It was harder for me to make friends because of all the anxiety I was feeling. When I started working, it was hard to keep a job because I had so much trouble concentrating.  

It wasn’t until I was about 23 that I decided to contact a professional for help. I ended up seeing a therapist. At the first visit, I couldn’t stop crying. Years of heartache just poured out of me. I told my therapist I felt so ashamed to reach out for help for my anxiety. My mom never wanted to help me. She just wanted me to help her.  

My therapist gently grabbed my hand and said, “You have suffered so much in your childhood, your teenage years and now, it’s continuing into your adulthood. I’m here to help you heal. Don’t feel ashamed. You’re so brave. We will conquer this anxiety together.” She said with a warm smile. At that moment, I had so much hope.  

After attending about 10 sessions, I noticed such a huge difference in my anxiety. The therapy consisted of breathing exercises, being honest about my past, and effective ways to heal from it. I truly believe to this day, my therapist was my guardian angel. My therapist helped me to learn to not be afraid of reaching out for help.  

My advice for you today is reach out for help when you need it. You don’t have to do it alone. And know that you deserve to heal from the pain, to finally be free from it. 

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