For my 15th birthday, we celebrated by going on a camping trip in which I brought 2 of my closest friends. We left the day before my birthday and arrived just in time to enjoy our afternoon and evening. I had so much fun and was so happy my friends were there to celebrate with me. I not only wanted to make sure everything was perfect for me but also them. Every time we would eat, I made sure they were happy with what they got. Every activity we would partake in, I made sure it was what they wanted to do and were having fun. When we went to bed, I gave them the best spots in the tent and I took the very edge. I didn't even realize I was doing this until it caught up with me. I woke up from my sleep that morning at 4 am and felt like I couldn't breathe. I was crying un controllably for no reason. I didn't know how to act or how to calm down. I got out of the tent and sprinted to the beach until the sun came up. I made my way back to camp and though I was still on edge, I pulled myself together enough to look normal in front of any one I would encounter. I can remember every moment of this incident. How the cool foggy beach looked, how the cold sand and rock hurt my bare feet so bad but I just had to keep running, how my stomach felt like it was coming up my throat. I'll never forget it.
After this happened, I felt myself becoming more weak. Something so little, such as not liking the food I was eating , would throw me off the edge. I'm sure that everyone just thought I was being dramatic. I'm sure I was. But I truly couldn't help it and didn't want to. I always knew deep down that I had an anxiety problem which eventually did turn into a small case of depression but like a lot of people, I ignored it because mental health isn't something people necessarily take seriously.
At this point I decided to dive head first into music and take it seriously. I would play gigs every weekend and music festivals all the time in the summer. For the first time in a while I felt like myself. I felt so free. All I ever wanted to do was sing and play guitar. I even fell in love for the first time and I really didn't think life could get bad again. Until it did. For a teenager, breakups are HARD. I knew after just a few months I didn't want to be with my first boyfriend and everything from there started to go down hill. I was really so trapped. After about 2 years of playing gigs and these past 6 months of being with a boy I didn't want to be with, I realized I was pushing myself too hard. I cared way too much about what people wanted from me and not what I wanted for myself. Mainly because I didn't know what I wanted for myself. I was starting to not enjoy playing as much as I used to. I think the fact that music wasn't helping me any more was what made me the most sad out of everything. So gigs slowed down for a bit and I finally broke up with him. At this point I mainly felt numb and I didn't know what I wanted to do other then just lay in bed and watch youtube. So I did.
Eventually I decided to start hanging out with my friends again and involving myself the best I could in my school choir since it was going to be my senior year of high school. Once again, I feel in love. But this time so perfectly. Now I was happy, probably because I decided to act like a regular teenager but I didn't care I just finally found it. During this time I also made it to the blind auditions for the voice and I made even more friends. I didn't even care that I didn't get a chair turn or about any surrounding family problems that were going on because I knew I had a good back bone of people to support me.
It wasn't until last night ,on my fourth night of tour, when I began to feel that horrible anxiety and panic the way I did on my 15th birthday. It started to hit me on stage at my second show of the tour. My dad wasn't there to play with me. My mom wasn't there to watch. My boyfriend wasn't there to give me a hug after every set or to go home to after a long night of music. Everything was changing so quickly and I realized it as I was on stage (which is literally the worst because everyone will witness it if you make a scene). I was 10 hours away from home which made everything worse. I have a friend Ian on the road with me but its not like I can just put off of my problems onto him when we are just starting to get to know each other. All I could do was cry. I broke out in hives. I knew if I ate or drank anything I would just vomit. I couldn't breathe.
All I can wonder now is if I jumped the gun on this trip. Most kids my age make a gradual adjustment into adulthood by going off to college maybe and hour or two away. All I've talked about for months is how excited I am to travel , but I never thought I would feel this alone. I feel like I've ripped all the things that made me happy away for me. I guess now the only way to cope with this anxiety is to realize I'm the only person that will always be there for me. I have to stop doing things to please others and take time to please me. I want to enjoy this trip so incredibly bad and I hope I didn't get myself into a "right place, wrong time" situation. I am trying to become stronger but once again I can feel myself getting weaker. Am I being dramatic? Yes. But are my feeling valid? YES.
Rock and blues singer from Detroit, Mi