I am battling a disorder that won't go away. It can't disappear, no matter what. I am fighting anxiety and depression. I found someone else that was battling the unbeatable disease too.

So how did we even discover each other’s disorder, well…?

Some stupid sophomore teacher assigned every girl with a boy for a day to get to know each other and write a five-page report about them. I wanted to be stuck with any boy but him. What are the odds? The world hates me, so guess what I got stuck with him! This was rather awkward for both of us. Finally I was just sick of the silence! I blurted, "I will give you something to write about! I have anxiety and depression and I have wanted to die since the day I was born!"

He looked at me and walked about ten feet away. Then stopped, he ran his hand through his silky, stringy, blonde hair. That was something I did when I was really nervous. Odd he was the last person that I could possibly think of that would get nervous. "Lily" I felt myself go red. I didn't even know he knew my name. "You're not alone. I have it too."

I choked, and looked into face. He didn't look like he was joking. "Jeremiah, just tell me this then," I just couldn't believe it yet. "How can you take in all that attention that those stupid cheerleaders give you and all your team-mates give you? There is no-" I stopped for I began to sniffle and cry stupid traitorous tears!

"Lily It has taken me a long time to get where I am today. I have spent my whole life trying to be normal. It sure isn't easy, for us of all people, but that is my goal. To be normal."

"I don't understand. I have tried my whole life too. Do you see me nearly as comfortable as you? No!" I snapped.

"Lily this is so good for both of us. Don't you see? We're not alone anymore. We've got each other. I can help you and you can help me. It would be nice to have someone to talk to about my problems, someone who understands."

I looked at him, the crazy fool! "Me, be around you? In public? Are you insane? No way! I can't have all those people looking at me, and talking about me. That's all I need."

"Who cares? God finally answered my prayers and yours, just in a different way than we expected." He looked at me waiting to agree.

"Jeremiah, I, just can't." I looked at the sky praying God would just take me now. Of course not! (The world hates me, remember?)

"Lily just here me out, okay? Come over to my house after school, or I can come get you and let's just talk this out. I can't ignore this like it's nothing. Lily look I will need you and you'll need me. We don't have to go it alone anymore." That sounded like as close to heaven I'd ever get on earth. I'd never have to keep to myself. There would be someone else, someone else to know and understand my pains.

"Okay" I agreed, "I will walk over to your house."

So I agreed to meet him after school. I knocked on the door in a hurry that no one would see me. I almost just turned around. What if this was all a hoax? What if someone saw me? Blackmail! I just couldn't. But I had to weigh the positive, what if this is all true? Then I'd not have to go the journey alone anymore. I knocked as quietly as possible, afraid someone might actually hear it. Jeremiah opened it in a hurry, like he'd been waiting for me. He grinned a half-hearted grin. We both knew we would rather be almost anywhere else but here, but life gives you mold make the most of it anyway.

We went up to his room quickly.
"Wow!" Neither of us could manage to say anything else. It was an incredibly awkward situation; already I was wishing that I hadn't come.

"Well, what medicine do you take? Do you see a counselor? How many days have you wanted to die?" As soon as the last question was spit out I regretted it, I just wanted him to comfort me and let me know I wasn't alone anymore.

He looked at me, pain written all over his face. "I take Lexipro, and I see a counselor, Mrs. Hohulin at the high school-" He paused by the look on my face. I was sick suddenly.

"That's m-my counselor" I blubbered. I began to cry, for the hundredth time today. How could she keep this from me? Why? Didn't she know I needed someone to talk to, someone like me! I suddenly hated her, for keeping that from me. Why, why? I suddenly felt horrible for thinking nasty thoughts about her, I knew she had to keep that a secret, but why couldn't she just tell me? I just wanted to die. I closed my eyes, I saw a blade, and blood. I stopped there. I couldn't do that to my mom. I couldn't that would be the most insensitive thing I could possibly do to her. Maybe it would be a blessing to the rest of the family, I was undecided about that, but I could never do that to my mom.

I hadn't noticed, but Jeremiah had moved closer to me and handed a box of Kleenex and put his hand out, palm up. I looked at him questioningly, wondering what that gesture meant.

"Squeeze my hand, as hard as you can. It helps me when I get the shakes, and can't stop. Just trust me." I did. I trusted him more than almost anyone else, at this point. I squeezed his hand. I was so weak from crying I could barely squeeze, but he was right I did stop shaking, not crying, but I wasn't sobbing either.

After that we talked, just like two normal friends, except our topics were different. We talked about life, death, suicide, medicine's side effects, attention, and our symptoms to anxiety. I looked at his clock for the first time that afternoon. It was 8:30.

"Great! I can't believe I wasted all this time. I mean, shoot! I have so much homework, and I can't have late work, and crap!" I felt all the warm and comforting feelings from this afternoon disparate.

"Look, breathe Lily it's okay. I will help you with it, okay? We'll get it done in time," Jeremiah reassured me.

"Well, maybe." I began to calm down again. I don't know, but Jeremiah had this calming effect on me. He could suggest something reasonable, and I listened. I never did to anyone else, but him. Weird.

"There you go, it’s okay. It's just homework, nothing to get all worked up about."

I hated when he had a point like that. Plainly, I just hate being wrong. "Jeremiah I know this sounds weird, but I actually listen to you. I mean when I'm buckling under crazy thoughts I just can't listen, or focus, except with you."

We decided to keep seeing each other, but in secret. Though neither said it, we both knew the less attention the better for the both of us.

That night I woke about 3:00 am. I woke and freaked out. "Did I get my homework done? Did I forget any? I ran down and checked all through my bag. I found nothing undone, but I didn't believe myself. I quickly called up Jeremiah.

"What?" Jeremiah asked, confused.

"Did I finish all my homework at your house? Did I leave any at your house? Jeremiah please tell me." I felt the panic rising in my voice. I felt myself hyperventilating.

"Yes, Lily, now go back to bed. It is 3:30 in the morning after all. Night." and he hung up. I could tell he wasn't mad though. I wondered why. I didn’t really care though, not then. I just felt reassured that all my homework was done.

The next day was… bus drills. I didn’t like to be in a tight area, it freaked me out, and I normally would start to hyperventilate. Not worried, though counselor would be there to pull me out of it. I went to her room, and she wasn’t there! I tried every five minutes but she wasn’t there. I didn’t have anywhere to turn; it was a state law, so the teachers would probably make me do it.

My friends tried to calm me down on the way, but that just got me more and more worked up. In the bus there were over eighty kids in a 77 passenger bus. I began to really hyperventilate. Three boys in the seat behind me noticed. I could feel my skin burning, my palms sweaty, and my whole body trembling. I thought I was going to pass out. Even the boys tried to calm me down. I felt like such an idiot, but that just blew my top. I felt a few tears stinging my eyes.

Not only did the most popular boy in the whole school know that I had anxiety, but now a bunch of boys, probably laughing at me right now, know I am a freak, and can’t control myself.

The next day at school I had gym, again. My least favorite part of the school day. I got dressed quickly; afraid, people would stare at me, just the thought made me get all embarrassed and red in the face. When I ran out to the gym I was almost the last one. EVERYONE stared at me! I just couldn't avoid all the eyes, unless I looked at my toes. It was easier to know EVERYONE was staring at me if I didn't look back I thought. We were starting the volleyball unit, crap! Like you know I can't hit a ball to save my life. My team-mates always yelled at me, and EVERYONE looked at me, and laughed at me behind my back. It was easier to have people laughing at me later, when I wasn't there, when not all the attention was on me. I knew that at least. Because EVERYONE ALWAYS looked at me, and were CONSTANTLY judging me. So the class got divided into teams. Great I had a bunch of athletic people on my team. No one would talk to me then. But then again maybe that would be the better thing. Then they'll get really mad when I miss the ball though, I concluded.

"Heads-Up Lily" Somebody shouted. I hadn't been paying attention at all; I'd been much too busy worrying about how they'd react to MY mistake, like usual. The ball came flying for my face. Before I even had time to run away from the ball, BAM I got whacked in the face, and fell over from the impact. The team was undecided if they should laugh or be mad at me first. I felt warm tears sliding down my face. Before I got up and they all saw what a wimp I was, I looked for the nearest exit. I looked frantically, but really not looking. I was way too embarrassed to really concentrate. I finally saw the red exit sign. I jumped up and dashed for the exit, of course, everything bad happens to me though. In my rush I tripped over my own feet and fell again. I knew they were all laughing at me now, for sure. No one would care to help me up, I knew that much. I hurried up again and ran as fast as I could without falling. My face was now all red from my face meeting volleyball and the ground. And my eyes looked like they'd been soaked in ketchup. It didn't take much for me to get worked up and forever to get calmed down. I ran into the locker room, into a stall and locked and began to bawl.

I had to find help, soon. My counselor would fix everything. But I couldn't leave class like this. The gym teacher would count me tardy, and… Breath I reminded myself. I inhaled and counted to five, just like my counselor had taught me. Then out for ten. I counted but couldn't last more than three seconds. I was a wreck. I quickly changed. Having everyone staring at me, because I was in gym clothes, wasn't going to help. I walked, and looked down, so as not to attract attention to myself. I found my counselor and it took the rest of the school day, and then some to get calmed down.

The next day I talked to Jeremiah again. "Lily I'm so sorry that I didn't help you in gym. I should have, but just thinking about all those people staring and how everyone would be talking about me, and you, and…"

He didn't need to apologize though. I knew I wouldn't have been able to help someone else, either. I would have wanted to so badly, but all the attention on me was just frightening.

The next day I was running late. I couldn't find my math homework, I couldn't get a late paper, and everyone would know and hold it against me forever. I finally realized I had left in my locker. My mom ran me to school. There was no way I would make it to class on time. I hurried, but before I even got to my locker the second bell had rung. I began shaking. Everyone would be talking about me then, they'd all laugh, and… I began to tremble, I had to just hurry.

What's the worst that could happen? I asked myself. I'd be the laughing stock of the school; the teacher won't listen to my reason. I'll be suspended. No I corrected myself, think positively. I die right now and don't have to face this anymore. Please God have mercy and just kill me before I have to go and face this. I ran to my classroom about five whole minutes late. CRAP! I thought. "Please let me become invisible or something just till I can get into my seat in the back where people don't look at me. Please!" I prayed silently.

When I walked in, the teacher was doing roll call. I walked up to her and gave her my tardy slip. I thought I was going to die from the humiliation. She just looked at me and said, “That's one Lily. Don't let it happen again. She then signed my paper and told me to go sit down. I walked as quickly to my seat as possible. I could feel everyone's eyes burning into my back. I just wanted to melt, or disappear, and gosh, that sure wasn't happening.

I tried to breath and just couldn't. I began to hyperventilate. What if people notice that I'm breathing differently? What if I pass out, people are bound to notice. But dear God don't let them notice. I'd never live it down.

"Lily what's the answer?" Mrs. Jenns asked.

I felt my face burning. I began to sweat and tremble. I began to hyperventilate again. I tried to hold the desk to keep from shaking, but I just couldn't my hands were too shaky. I looked at her impatient and cold glare at me. "Cou-ould you re-p-peat the ques-stion please?" I wanted to just beg end my misery please! But then what would people think of me? That would be the most embarrassing thing that ever could possibly happen to me.

"You should have been listening, Lily. Diego can you help her out?"

I didn't care about getting the right answer. Now everyone was thinking, "What a moron! She could have gotten that answer. She is so stupid!" I was sure of that much. I began coughing. I hadn't been breathing. "Man listen!" I scolded myself. "What did she just say? I wondered. I began feeling queasy. I began shaking more than just my hands. I couldn't even begin to think what people were thinking of me now. I held my hands together, trying to stop my shakes. I began trying to make myself calm down and breathe at a normal rate. I wanted to ask if I could see the nurse, but I didn’t' want people to look at me. I just wanted to disappear. Before I knew it I had lost it, my eyes rolled to the back of my skull, and I fell to the ground. I had passed out.

When I had awoken I was in the nurse’s room on her patient couch. Jeremiah was there too. He was sitting in one of her uncomfortable folding chairs. When they realized I was awake they both looked relived and embarrassed at the same time.

"Can I transfer schools, please? I can't let my face be seen around here anymore! Please!" I didn't even care what had happened after I passed out I could only think of what everyone was saying about me.

The next day, I was in a hurry to make it to school before everyone else! I couldn't walk into the school with a bunch of people talking about me, pointing at me, and laughing at me. I had to beat all that. I feel so bad, because I have put such a stress band around my family, but I can't help it. I was hurrying and yelling at my sister and mom to hurry up, or I was going to be late.

"Lily It is 7:15! Chill out! Come on!" my sister snapped. She glared at me, but I couldn't stop. I was rushing everyone, practically shoving them out the door. I was tapping my hands to keep them busy and counting to keep my mind off of what I was trying to avoid. It is quite odd. Whenever I try to avoid thinking of something, that's all I can possibly think of. I ran into the school and hurried to my locker. I got all of my things, and walked into my classroom before the teacher herself was there. Jeremiah walked in a few minutes after I had seated myself and came and sat down next to me. I looked at him with my sleepless eyes and he looked with pity back at me.

"How do you do it? How can you control yourself so much better than me?" I asked.

"I have found my outlet. Sports. I do it, and I see no one but the ball and me. I get incredibly nervous right before, but you have to find some way to think of something else. Why don't you come to my game and see how I work at a game? It's tonight at 7:00." Jeremiah suggested.

"Okay, but don't expect me to cheer, I don't want people to stare at me or anything," I warned.

"That's fine; I just can't stand to see you where I was. Now don't get me wrong. I have anxiety and worry about little petty things, too. But I've learned to control it more with my outlet." he explained.

So that night I went to his basketball game. I didn't want to but I did promise Jeremiah I would. I wanted to cheer the whole team on, especially Jeremiah, but I just didn't know if I could, not yet. But the way Jeremiah explained his life now sounded so like heaven. To have a moment to yourself, not worrying who's looking, but to just sigh and let yourself become yourself.

I walked into the gymnasium and freaked out. There were SO MANY people! I almost just turned around and walked out, but luckily Jeremiah was right there to grab me by the arm and plop me down in a seat. As soon as he left to go get ready for the game I scooted to a corner in the back of the bleachers so no one would look at me.

When the team came out, everyone but me stood up and cheered for them. I can't let someone else hear me or see me cheering, or they'll think I'm an idiot. So I stayed in my seat, in fact I didn't move the whole first three quarters. I didn't say a peep and wished I hadn't come, totally regretting it in fact. Then I noticed the scoreboard. We were losing by two points. Jeremiah had the ball, and there were five seconds left in the game. He ran for the basket, and I just wanted him to do well. I wanted it so bad! I just had to. I stood up and said, "You can do it Jeremiah!"

He looked in my direction and shot the ball. He made it! We won by one point. I don't know and I never will. But somehow I feel that I won that game. I did the unthinkable and I finally felt that God rewarded me for that and allowed Jeremiah to win.

The next day I asked Jeremiah if he had heard me, and he told me he had. I felt so good, I smiled. I was one of those people where you look at all of her pictures and they are of her miserable. I think we had maybe three pictures of me smiling, and they were fake. I felt so good. Jeremiah got me into an outlet. He volunteered us to do community work. I didn’t think I could do it though. I couldn't talk to people and help them, which was just not cool.

But I did it, and I slowly began to get this prickly feeling that it was okay to smile and it was okay to be a little late for class. I began to get less paranoid that the world was out to get me. I felt less and less upset and constantly worrying about what other people thought about me.

It has taken me my whole life short as it is to get this far. People use to think I didn't know how to talk. And now I can get called on, give an answer, and feel okay about it. I am nowhere near where I want to be in life, but I am getting closer every time I raise my hand, share my opinion, defend myself, make a new friend, and put myself in an uncomfortable situation. I have realized that with every challenge I get closer to the gold. The gold is having a fearless life, being free from constant worry, to live the life I want and control it instead of the anxiety controlling me. And with every coming year I have gotten to be a stronger person.

With every difficulty my life has faced in the past year I have come up with some kind of advice to it. Life is how you see it and nothing else. If you see the world as a black cloud, then that's what it is. If you see the world as a pink bunny, then that is what life is. I have learned that my perception of things is how I can hurt or help myself. Now in my life I want to be the person who finds a cure to anxiety so no one else ever has to live the way I have, because if you're not the strongest in the pack you may not survive anxiety. Anxiety has taken its toll on lives and souls and minds. I have decided anxiety is not my ruler, and it will no longer have a say in how I think or act. That is how I want to live my life.


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