Changing Leaves: Learning to ask for help

God, this week was awful. And not in the “oh, midterm season” kind of way, but in the “why am I so incapable” kind of way, or “thinking I was going to have a heart attack” kind of way. Sort of ironic that me, and everyone I know, had a huge mental health spiral the week of our Mental Health Awareness issue.

The truth is, my anxiety got the best of me this last week. I spent moments clutching my heart, calming myself down in the middle of a panic attack. I spent an hour looking for counsellors at 3 a.m. on the night before my midterm. I sent voice notes of myself hyperventilating, fully planning on admitting myself to the hospital, desperate for a way to feel safe and grounded. As much as I tried to rationalize my thoughts, I couldn’t. My usual coping mechanisms failed miserably.

To be honest, I feel like a failure. In school, at work, in my relationships. I feel like a failure for having panic attacks. I never anticipated it would get this bad. I never thought I would reach a point in my life where I’d feel like the leaves won’t change. That my life is stuck like this for a longer time than I can handle. 

In my last addition to Changing Leaves, I talked about how good moments are guaranteed, and that those moments are what help us get to the next happy point. But truthfully, I didn’t feel that sentiment this week. I crave a solution, I crave compassion, not empathy—a distinction I learned from my counsellor today. And yes, I said counsellor. I sought out the Health and Counselling Centre at school. And I don’t know where it’ll go, but I need help working through my severe anxiety. Because the honest truth is, I can’t do this alone. 

I don’t think people have to face their battles alone—a hypocritical thing for me to say, but I’m trying to accept it. Because I can’t let anxiety be a rerun segment. I need help. And that’s okay.

Changing Leaves Columnist (Volume 49); Managing Editor (May–November, Volume 49) — Aia is a fourth-year student studying Psychology and completing a double minor in French and Philosophy. She became a Staff Writer for The Medium in the 2021-2022 publishing year and was determined the team couldn’t get rid of her so soon. In her spare time, she can be found café hopping in the hopes to find the best iced chai in the GTA, writing her weirdly complex thoughts down in her notes app, or taking a million pictures a day of her friends. Aia hopes that students find The Medium and feel the sense of belonging she has felt. You can connect with Aia on Linkedin.


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