Amber McLain, age 18. Michigan
Panic rises and grips my throat, my heart. I feel like death has his arms around me, waiting for just the right moment to move his hands around my neck. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. Why does no one understand that? Can no one understand what’s going on? I’m too shy to ask for help, but is it really not obvious? Mom, dad, sisters one, two and three – do you not see how much I’m suffering? No one understands, until…a book. A book gives me hope. Many books, actually. They help me realize that what’s wrong isn’t that I’m crazy; what’s wrong is that I’m depressed; I might very well have panic disorder. This is oddly calming; just knowing that I am not alone in this struggle helps. I don’t feel as bad, don’t feel the need to hide, don’t self-medicate. The knowledge that I’m not alone helped me find balance.