This I Believe

Sara - Newtown, Connecticut
Entered on May 30, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Three Minutes

When I walked off the stage during one of my high school concerts, I knew that my life had changed. Those few seconds became a representation of what part of my life has become since then: frustrating and stressful. Since those few minutes, I have learned to repeat, “Three minutes, just three more minutes. Last three more minutes.”

Unfortunately, that performance cursed me with the fear of being trapped in places. My relatively free life turned into one that was full of restrictions. Should I drive with my dad down to New York City? But what if I can’t last the car ride? Even worse, what if we get stuck in traffic? If I get there, I will most certainly not be taking any subways because not only am I stuck in the car, but I most likely do not know the city that lies above. I smile to myself each weekday at approximately 2:15 once I have conquered the bus ride home, something I couldn’t do a few months ago. During the ride, I just sit reciting, “Three minutes, just three more minutes. Last three more minutes.”

Now, I plan everything. Whenever I drive anywhere, my route has to be along a road highly populated with stores and eateries. I have the distances I have to drive on the highway or residential roads timed so that I can tell myself, “Three minutes, just three more minutes. Last three more minutes.”

I now have the ability to predict an uncomfortable situation. Take standardized testing. A long time passes within SAT before test-takers are allowed to leave the room for a short break. What have I done to improve my own comfort for this examination? Two hours of research and more of putting together a resume to ask the administers for stop the clock breaks. Never-the-less, I still worry about leaving during these tests. “Three minutes, just three more minutes. Last three more minutes.”

Severe anxiety results in a difficult task, one that involves overcoming fears. These fears are so severe that they are great hindrances to normal life, so are even harder to confront, let alone overcome. However, as impossible as this may seem, I have met warriors who were victorious in this battle even though their win was not easy. Judging by what I have learned, I believe that this is going to be difficult for me too. I believe that a change may not come for another few years because I need to become more comfortable with myself. Most of all, I believe that once I conquer this battle, I will be much more content with who I am and will be able to handle more stress that life throws at me. I believe in the day when I no longer have to say, “Three minutes, just three more minutes. Last three more minutes” but instead am free to let my mind wander to wherever it may.