The earliest I can remember having anxiety was when we moved. My parents bought a house in Sacramento in 1992. We lived in Daly City, by we I mean my parents, my brother and me. We lived in a building with 4 apartments. We lived in apartment #4 and my grandparents lived in apartment #2. Whenever I wanted to hangout out with my grandma and grandpa I would call her to let her know I was coming down the stairs. She would be waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents especially with my grandma. So when we moved I guess I had separation anxiety. Every time she would visit and had to leave I would hug her so tight and cry. I didn’t want her to go or I wanted to go with her. She would tell me “if you cry I won’t come back”, I knew she was trying to get me to calm down. I would call her and talk to her often and that helped.
After a while I got better about it.
I started second grade in Sacramento. This was my second elementary school. I had head gear and glasses. I was a nerd. I was teased. That gave me anxiety. Later I got braces. Still got teased. I was called so many different names bean pole, brace face, ugly, anorexic, teacher’s pet, and a whole bunch more. I was smart and my teachers loved me so I would hang out with them at recess or ask them if they needed help. I loved helping other students with reading or writing. That’s one thing that helped me was reading. I would get lost in books. Different worlds. I would go through so many books. It was my escape. Things started to get better I did not get teased, and people recognized me because I was getting the Principal’s Award like every month. One of my teacher’s told my parents that I could skip a few grades, my dad was against it because if I got teased by kids my own age, what do you think older kids would do?
A new school was built by my house, not walking distance like my current school. The school was Barbara Comstock Morse and guess who had to go there… me. So I went to a totally new school for 6th grade. I was put in a fast paced accelerated class. So now I was with kids who were as smart as me or smarter. I struggled because I had to make new friends. I had lost my confidence. I was teased a little bit. I was not pretty or popular. I was more teased by people in the other sixth grade class. My teacher was awesome and helped me out a lot. I was in oral language fair, that helped me get over stage fright. I loved the rush of it. We got second place. I felt good because I was stepping out of my shell. I still read books and magazines. I loved getting magazines. I loved reading about the new fashion trends. I would make little paper dolls and dress them.
I thought I was going to go to Jackman for middle school. Nope. They told me I had to go to Harriet Eddy. A whole new group of people. Some people I knew were going to go to Eddy but it was mostly new people.
I was used to going to very diverse schools. In Daly City there was one white family in my neighborhood.
Eddy was predominantly white. I wasn’t used to that. Talk about being the minority. I mean it was still diverse don’t get me wrong. But I was teased there too. I was teased by both white kids and hispanic kids. My clothes weren’t brand name or expensive. I didn’t wear makeup. I had a cheerleader tell me that I had a big nose. (I think I grew into it). The hispanic kids would tell me I looked white and would tease me for that. I call this reverse racism. I was teased for not being Mexican. I am Nicaraguan. I speak fluent Spanish but still got made fun of. School and home life gave me anxiety. Its hard being first generation born in this country and having parents who just don’t get it. They didn’t get the “fitting in” concept.
I got my first real panic attack in 8th grade. I thought I was dying. I felt like I was having a heart attack. I remember laying on my parents bed waiting for my friend’s mom to pick me up to take me to school. My heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. I remember calling my dad and he told me I had to go to school, he talked to my friend’s mom and she took me to school. She talked to me a bit and I calmed down. I didn’t have another panic attack for a few months and it wasn’t that bad. It sucked because when I would feel it coming on I would perspire a lot and that was annoying.
I listened to a lot of music in middle school. My parents had lots of CD’s so I would listen to the BeeGee’s, Air Supply, and Barry Manilow. I would listen to rap, Tupac, Biggie, Bone Thugs in Harmony, but I had to get those CD’s from friends. I would rock out to Bush, Sublime and Matchbox20. I can’t forget the Spanish singers, Celia Cruz, Jose Jose and Selena. I had so many tapes that I recorded on and CDs. Like this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of all of the music I would listen to.
I made it through middle school because of music.
I thought I was going to go to Valley High school since it wasn’t too far from my house. Nope went to Laguna Creek. Still didn’t have cool clothes, rode the bus to school but at least I had friends. Believe it or not I still got picked on. Boys would tell me I had a big nose or I was too skinny. I had to get braces again. The anxiety would come and go. My high school sweet heart was not a sweet heart. He treated me like crap. My parents hated him. He was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He could be so sweet but then be so damn mean. I survived high school by listening to music and writing letters to my friends between classes. I would write poems. Honestly my high school experience was ok. It was only ok because I would ditch and yea I smoked pot. We would go to a park and hang out. I liked feeling free. That was short lived because my dad found out.
I was not allowed to go to any dances. NONE. My dad was pretty strict. It was so sad to see girls talking about prom and going dress shopping with their moms and their friends. I would sit in my room for hours listening to music. I would cry. I feel that’s when my depression started. So many expectations. I wanted to be a fashion designer or a play writer or a veterinarian. I love my parents but they had expectations of me being a nurse or a doctor. I was living a lie. I felt so lost. I felt like they let me express myself a little bit, I would dye my hair and I changed my hair color all the time. I don’t think I was truly comfortable with my physical self and I never felt I was good enough. But music was there, I was more into house music and trance at the end of high school. My brother would download a bunch of stuff off of Napster and him and I would blast music together. I remember being sad and he would play new songs to cheer me up. High school now seems like a blur.. I had some good times for sure but for the most part it was me being emo.
End of Part 1