Your donation will support the student journalists of Iowa City High School. Your contribution will allow us to attend conferences, purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.
Behind the Mask: Mental Health
Explore the truth behind anxiety and depressive disorders
April 28, 2017
The Truth About Anxiety
What makes you anxious? An upcoming math test? A job interview? Asking someone to prom? These feelings usually last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. But how would you cope if you felt this way all the time and didn’t know why?
Amanda Aaberg was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2015. She was used to having panic attacks, but this prolonged dysphoria was a new experience for her.
“Back in November, my anxiety started getting really bad for no reason. I got to the point where I had to go to the emergency room about four times before they decided to admit me,” Aaberg said.
But the hospital visits did nothing to calm her down.
“I was just freaking out the entire time,” Aaberg said. “They took away almost everything I used to help myself calm down. I couldn’t watch my favorite YouTubers or shows that usually help calm me down when I feel this way. The only remedies I had left were pacing and drinking ice cold water.”
When she was released, there was only added stress in her life. It was the week of her school play, and Aaberg was a vital member of the crew, making and adjusting costumes for the actors.
“I forced myself to go to the shows, but after that, I stayed home for two months because I could not get myself to go to school. I just felt so bad all of the time,” Aaberg said.
It was not until she was threatened with being kicked out of school and choir that Aaberg finally mustered enough courage to return to school.
“I went back and that was hard. The most difficult thing to do was the choir concert. My freshman year it was fine, but for some reason, ever since my sophomore year it has been increasingly difficult to do concerts. I managed to get through that concert, but it was horrible,” Aaberg said.
The sudden increase in anxiety and depression was a big shock.
“It confused everybody because we didn’t know what had triggered my anxiety. We think it may have been the medication I had been taking – which was supposed to help. I remember going to one doctor who wasn’t listening to anything I said and did. She just kept saying, ‘keep taking the medication, it will work. Just keep taking it,’ but it only made me feel worse,” Aaberg said. “Right now I’m not taking any medication and I’m doing better.”
Aaberg still doesn’t always know what triggers her anxiety or depression.
“If I don’t feel normal, I just go crazy. And it could be any little thing, it’s not just one cause,” Aaberg said.
The most important thing she wants people to know is how to interact and talk to someone with anxiety or clinical depression.
“It’s different for everybody. You might know someone else that has it so you think their remedies are going to work for everyone but that’s not how it works. It’s different for every single person. Just because you may think you know about anxiety and depression, you really don’t. You can’t tell someone, ‘stop freaking out!’ that’s not how it works at all,” Aaberg said.