Following the shooting that took place at my school, I tried to jump right back into my normal life. I wanted to be strong for my friends, so at times I would suppress my own emotions to help others. I put on a happy face and held back my tears. We were all suffering, and I put others before myself.
Returning to school created a “new normal,” since everything I knew that was normal was stripped away from me. Normal is a word no longer in my dictionary. I was able to pull through and make it through the rest of my school year, but I wasn’t completely unscathed.
Coming back to school this August caused all my feelings to resurface. Course cards were due before the shooting on Feb. 14, and I had chosen to take very rigorous and extensive classes.
I started school with confidence, hoping that I would be able to persevere through everything that had happened last. The shooting worsened my anxiety in and out of school and left me with horrifying nightmares every night.
I am typically an A/B student, and this year my grades have dropped dramatically. I had to drop the math course I was taking and begin completing it online. Whenever I am presented with a math test, I immediately forget everything I learned. On Feb. 14, I was in my Algebra 2 class in the freshman building. To me, it is not a coincidence that I have the biggest problems with math.
My motivation with school has crumbled. I still cannot focus in class. Trying to read something longer than a page leaves me having to reread everything multiple times because I can’t retain the information.
My frequent nightmares leave me exhausted, and after 8 hours of school, I feel completely burned out when I get home. I sleep during the day after school because I can’t get through the restless nights. This leaves me with lots of unfinished assignments and zero motivation to fix it.
Throughout the day, my mind wanders and can’t stay focused on something for long periods of time. Thoughts flood my brain and my anxiety worsens. I have panic attacks on a daily basis in and out of school.
I have been going to a therapist since school started and we have tried different techniques to help me relax, but nothing is working so far. Most days I feel as if going to school and getting my work done is a battle that I’m fighting.