This I Believe

Miranda - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

The stress was overwhelming. My mind was spinning in a whirlwind, never letting one item of information slip by. I was worried about passing my next AP Euro test. I had been worried for the past two weeks, but unwilling to overcome my procrastination. Only Redbull and Snickers fueled my momentum. Hundreds of dates and facts filled my head, blocking out everything else. Mentally exhausted but as physically hyper as a five year old on a sugar binge, I walked into class feeling completely unprepared and fated to receive an F.

When I got home, I passed out and fell asleep, not waking for the next two days. I had stressed myself out past my breaking point and had no way to make amends with myself.

After I had woken up and realized that I had beaten myself up, I decided I would never do it again. I promised to relax and take everything one step at a time. No more rushing and pushing myself to the limit. I needed time to breathe and calm down.

For the next few weeks I worked extremely hard to pay attention to myself, never forgetting to stay cool and controlled. The first step in my recovery was to slow down. I planned ahead and committed to completing my tasks. Determination was my word of the month, followed by relaxation. By taking the stress down a notch and lowering the ante, I had a better chance of succeeding.

I took a different approach to the next AP Euro test. I spread out my work and discovered I had more time to devote to other things in my life. I was no longer tied down by the stress. If I stopped and took a breath, I was okay. I was alive. Rejuvenated and experienced.

I escaped the grasps of pain that waited to drag me under. All of the suffering I had endured was behind me. I relaxed. It was not a supreme being that changed me. It was not electric shock therapy that changed me. It was fear that changed me. Fear of myself, my imperfection. My anxiety became my motivation as I held on. If I stopped and took a breath, I was okay. My restlessness became my relaxation.

No longer shackled to my fear, I was able to live. No longer moving in a haze, I was able to laugh. No longer feeling depressed, I was able to choose. I had reinvented myself and I was able to imagine. Nothing was impossible if I just breathed. I learned to accept my imperfections and relax. I choose to accept reality and I choose to breathe. My willingness to be patient with myself overcame my fear of myself.

The stress and anxiety never loosen their stranglehold, but neither control my life. Fear of my imperfection still bites around the edges of my mind, but if I just breathe, I can suppress it. Relaxation, this I believe.