A Long Day’s Journey Into Therapy, pt. 3

Coming to college didn’t alleviate my misery, but instead exacerbated it. I was still culture-shocked and overflowing with new experiences and emotions, and, well, few of my new classmates cared or understood. I started having a hard time making friends. I was very intimidated by my theatre professors and my classmates. My stagecraft class was three-times-a-week of hell for me; I can’t build to save my soul, and I couldn’t catch on to anything the particularly gruff teacher was trying to show me. He taught props class the next quarter, which I was even worse at. He frequently called me stupid and screamed at me, and I continued to miss the mark on just about every assignment. I spent a lot of time in my dorm room – crying, sleeping, and skipping class. Depression crippled me, and social anxiety was turning me into a bonafide agoraphobe. Making eye contact with someone in the hall, bathroom, or on the sidewalk was enough to trigger an anxiety attack. I hated Otterbein and wanted desperately to transfer to an art school somewhere, but my mother told me that it wasn’t financially feasible. I felt trapped. I felt like a waste. I had several abortive flings, burying myself in casual sex to feel wanted. At the end of the year, I started dating a guy from my psychology class, because he did a presentation about social anxiety disorder and seemed to be the only person who understood what I was going through. I got his email from the last slide of the PowerPoint, and messaged him about my experiences later that night. We started texting, and within a week, we were dating, and we had never interacted face-to-face.

Predictably, it was a nightmare. I wasn’t attracted to him, but he paid attention to me; unfortunately, he wanted to take things way farther than I did. He wanted to get me pregnant and get married to me, as soon as possible. I would reject these offers vehemently, and he would respond with verbal abuse and manipulative behavior. This went on for two months, and then I went on summer break – we kept dating, long distance. He became even more controlling over the distance, demanding that I text him every half hour, growing incredibly protective and suspicious of me, and talking more and more about impregnating me. It terrified me, but I didn’t understand how to get out of the relationship. I started having anxiety attacks almost every day, often more than once a day. I started thinking about suicide again. I really was worthless, if this kind of creep was the only person who wanted to be with me. I was afraid I would somehow be stuck with him forever, forced to give in to his twisted fantasies of our future. One morning, I woke up in the throes of an anxiety attack, and I fell to the floor in my basement, seriously considering suicide. I was desperate. I broke up with him the next day.

To be continued…

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