Lessons In A School Hallway

Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous. People who don’t stay down after they fall or are tripped are often troublemakers. Hard to control. Which is the best kind of dangerous possible. They are the artists, innovators and change-makers.” – Brene Brown

My name is Sarah and I have generalized anxiety, separation anxiety and panic disorder. My journey down this crazy, beautiful life began before I can even remember. I am 21 now.

My earliest memories don’t revolve around anxiety but anxiety is definitely a prevalent feature. School was very difficult for me and during the second grade my parents decided to homeschool me, an idea that I was thrilled with.

Recently, I was asked to describe myself during my school years and the word that I used was “closed-up.” I’m beginning to realize just how closed up I was.

Lately, thanks to counseling and medications (I am stressing that these might not be the right course for everyone) I have a new sense of freedom and I am realizing something. I want to DO something.

I wrote the following in my journal on December 16 after having a panic attack. I decided to write down what happened instead of mulling it over in my mind allowing myself to believe that I failed because I didn’t...

My mom, sister and I took the family to a kids Christmas play. Between the 310 people attending, twinkle lights and dim overhead lighting, I went into flight mode. I was claustrophobic and I had to get out.

After the panic set in I waited out in the hallway but that was my choice. There were a few tears but I chose to see them as a healing method instead of a sign of weakness. Before, I would have wanted to hide my face but I know now that every single person who I see is fighting their own battle in some way.

Yes, I became nervous but (and this is a huge “BUT") I didn’t let it take over.

There are three titles mentioned in the quote above, “artist”, “innovator” and “change-maker.” I think that it’s important to have a purpose or a goal. I have chosen “change-maker.” I want to take all of the nasty, crappy stuff that I’ve dealt with and surprise it - by NOT GIVING IN even when I want to.

I am still a bit of a struggle bus but - hey! Everyone has something that they are dealing with. If I can avoid feeling bitter and angry by just giving someone else a smile then I sure as heck am gonna do it. This is how I am going to fulfill my dream of being a “change-maker.”

Sarah Masterson is 21 and lives in Iowa. When she is not teaching piano lessons or working with kids you can find her reading, writing or driving her family crazy with her fair trade and eco-friendly practices or volunteering. However, she is realizing the benefits to not fill up her schedule and that finding balance is extremely important. 

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6 comments

Judy Wagschal

Inspiring and beautifully written, Sarah! Thanks so much for being brave and vulnerable and sharing with us.

Carol Hoeksema

Beautifully written Sarah. Thank you for choosing to be a change-maker!

Scott Fluegel

Thanks for allowing us to a part of your life. You have been an encourager. Praise God for the blessing you are.

LInda Baenziger

What a wonderful message and insight you have chosen to share. I wished as a child more information was available. I too suffer from anxiety but the panic attacks were
Always difficult. I thank God I chose to educate myself and realize like you we all are dealing with something. You are such a sweet and gentle soul I’m sure your desire to be a change maker is obviously already being fulfilled.

Cindy Wieckhorst

Thanks for sharing. It helps us to better understand each other and to know how to pray for each other when we open ourselves up to others that care.

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