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Updated: Jan 5, 2023

Sometimes I feel that I am different if that makes sense.

It started when I was in elementary school. I used to get scared of things other kids were not scared of. I used to get scared to go to the bathroom or get scared to go get the milk from the cafeteria. But as I grew up, I realized these small fears never went away. These small fears were my anxiety. Sometimes, it feels like a small buzz in the corner of my head. And other times, it feels like a big thump hitting my head. I never told people about the buzz or the thump. I thought it was normal. After all, my parents went through a lot of struggles.

I am from a family of Indian immigrants. My mom grew up in the village of Vadu. She had three other siblings, and growing up it was a hard life. I still hear stories about her life on the farm. Then, when she was in the second grade, she moved to the United States. All I heard growing up was her struggle. How they had to work constantly, ate minimal food, lived with twenty people, and still did not have problems. Because of one thing. Family.

And my dad. He struggled. My great grandma raised him with my grandpa. My dad stayed in India till after college. But all I heard was that he studied his a** off. And when he married my mom, he moved to the states and started a life together.

And their life wasn’t easy. They owned a Subway and were working constantly to give their children a better life. While they were working, my mom was pregnant with my older brother.

Then my brother was born. And my mom had to quit her job to take care of him. He was a monster baby. He needed my mom’s attention 24-7. But then she got pregnant again, and after 9 months, I was born.

Growing up, I would say I had a pretty good life. When I was a baby, I got the things that my parents did not grow up with. You know things like Christmas gifts, birthday parties, and playdates. I used to wake up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning just to go downstairs to check my presents. And during my birthday parties, I wore my pretty pink dress and blew out my candles. But as my Indian parents fed me cake, I always wished for the best of them.

But one of my favorite things in the world is dance. Since I was little, I have been a try-hard dancer. I practiced for hours and was always excited to see my fellow dance mates. I do Bharatanatyam, it is a South Indian Classical dance. And once you want to graduate, you perform called an Arangetram, a performance of three hours where the dancer dances to set rules.

However, things took a turn. I got my first panic attack. I was actually in a dance class. A zoom one. My dance teacher was testing me. And I started breathing heavily and cried. My mom had to come to the basement and cradle me while I cried.

That's when I knew I was different. I started things that were not normal. Punching the walls. Crying constantly on my pillow. Locking myself in my room. Thinking about thoughts that no one should ever think of. And this happened for three years.

Until I told my parents about it. And they realized I needed help. I talked to a doctor and was diagnosed with Depression and GAD. But I started crying. Crying not because I was sad but happy. Happy that my difference was an actual problem.

Still today, people tell me Depression is not a thing. They tell me to think more positively and not to take SSRIs. But it's okay to get help. I see a therapist and a doctor and honestly, it's the best part of my week. Sometimes it's scary to tell your parents. So tell someone you trust. Because it is worse to keep it bundled up and try to fight your mind.

It's okay to get help.

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