Some parts are very vivid in my memory. A lot is a blur.
  1. Sometime in February or March of 2010 I got accepted to my dream college.
    Juniata was the only college I visited. I fell in love the moment I stepped on the campus. It was the only school I wanted to go to.
  2. I graduated high school in June of 2010 and I was very excited for my future college adventures.
  3. I had an amazing summer!
    I spent it with my friends, my boyfriend, and my family. Orientation at Juniata made me even more excited for what was coming.
  4. As the weeks passed and move-in day creeped closer I got extremely anxious.
  5. Juniata has a program called Inbound for incoming freshman. You picked a program, went a week early, and did a whole bunch of activities.
    It allowed you to meet other students and get familiar with campus.
  6. I had signed up for Inbound. I chose Th Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. The day before I had to leave I panicked. I couldn't go. I wasn't ready yet. I hadn't started packing because I was so scared.
  7. I didn't go to Inbound, so I had an extra week to prepare myself.
    I got packed and said my goodbyes. I was nervous, but also excited. I found my roommate on Facebook. We talked all summer long and I was so excited to finally meet her in person.
  8. I was so nervous on move-in day but I did it. It was a Saturday morning. August 28th. I got there and unpacked all my stuff. I met Colleen and we went out to do all the freshman tours and events that were planned for the weekend.
    I had fun! Colleen already knew where everything was on campus because her dad worked there so we demolished the scavenger hunt of important places. I met some people she went to high school with and we walked around Huntingdon in the blistering heat.
  9. Even though I was having fun on the inside I was terrified.
    I had never been away from home. All I could think about was that something awful would happen to my family while I was gone. I was afraid they would all be murdered. I was also in a new place with people. I am terrified of getting sick. And I was now living in a dorm. A Petri dish of germs.
  10. I stopped eating.
    When I'm afraid of getting sick I stop eating. This was very hard to hide as I was forced to eat meals with people in a huge dining hall. I felt like everyone was watching me. This had made my anxiety even worse.
  11. I ate small things
    In my mind this would keep me from passing out. I would eat a granola bar or some crackers. Maybe some pasta at dinner to seem less suspicious to everyone I was sitting with.
  12. I did go to a few classes
    I barely remember them. I remember vaguely sitting in an education class. And I remember going to Organic Chemistry and it being huge. Other than that I don't remember any classes.
  13. Tuesday August 31st. It was my birthday
    I had a good day. I missed my family, but Colleen had gotten me a gift, which was very sweet. We stayed up until 3 in the morning talking about everything and anything.
  14. Wednesday night I panicked
    I hadn't eaten anything substantial since the Thursday before I moved in. So basically I hadn't really eaten anything for 6 or so days. I was weak. The room was unbearably hot, which didn't help. I had spent the day in my room crying. I texted. Colleen that I didn't know what to do.
  15. Both the RA and the RD came to our room
    I was an absolute mess. They got me to drink water and to eat a peach. I was told I was to go and see the doctor at health and wellness the next day and then I was to have lunch with my RD. I wasn't to worry about classes.
  16. The doctor wasn't helpful. She just wanted to prescribe me meds. After I went and met my RD for lunch.
    I ate. I had to. We talked. I was scared. She took me to go talk to the Assistant Dean. He was and is very kind and understanding. He said I should go see a counselor. My RD took me that afternoon and waited for me as I talked to the counselor. She suggested I take time off. I went back to the dean and he told me it was okay if I had to leave. I could always come back.
  17. Thursday September 2nd I decided I needed to leave college.
    I called my family in tears. I felt like a complete disappointment. My dad would be coming to pick me up on Saturday. I had to wait another day when I wanted to leave that second.
  18. I don't remember much of that Friday. I surely didn't go to class. But my RD was very supportive.
    She made dinner for me, my RA, and Colleen in her apartment. She wanted to make sure I ate something. I was able to eat knowing I was leaving the next day.
  19. I spent exactly one week at college before I left. I felt ashamed and scared. I thought I was over reacting.
    My boyfriend did tell me I was over reacting when I got home. He was the only one who said it but it was still shit because I believed it for awhile. He didn't think mental illnesses were real.
  20. Then I was home. It took until October to find a psychologist. We found one that was good, but she was an hour and a half away.
    Her name was Shelley. She was amazing.
  21. My mom was amazing. She drove me an hour and a half there and back every other week. Sometimes every week. She did this through the rain, the snow, and the sunshine.
    She was also very supportive at home. She was there for me when I needed her.
  22. This is when I was diagnosed with OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
    Everything throughout my entire life now made sense. The more I learned about OCD and anxiety the more I realized that I've had this for as long as I remember. I remember being afraid of being away from home in kindergarten and being afraid of getting sick in 1st grade.
  23. I didn't want to go on medication. So I didn't. Shelley and I worked at my OCD every week.
    We started small. She exposed me to things that made me anxious and we sat through them. If I had anything sticky on my hands I would have to wash my hands a lot. We sat on her office floor and she poured honey all over my hands. This was the first exposure we did. I laugh at that now.
  24. I may have been making progress on my OCD but some obsessions and anxieties continued. This was because I never talked about them.
    I spent my days home alone. Terrified. My parents went to work and my siblings went to school. I locked myself in my room and didn't leave it until someone came home. I would stay up late so I would sleep most of the day. It prevented me from being awake and alone for very long. I also didn't want to go out because I was ashamed of being home and not at school. I didn't want to see anyone I went to school with. I felt very alone.
  25. I found solace in TV and the Internet.
    I watched Grey's Anatomy reruns everyday. There was something about Meredith I related to. This is why I won't stop watching now. There is a special place in my heart for the fictional Meredith Grey.
  26. I met Mindy on tumblr early in 2011. She is now one of my best friends and was such an amazing support and friend through all of this.
    She was someone I could talk to openly and she never judged. We bonded over Stargate and music. The gray Stargate watch of 2011. That's a whole other story.
  27. Sometime along the way I broke up with my boyfriend
    It was sometime in the spring. We never talked really. We just had sex. We eventually just stopped talking completely. He took some other girl to his prom that wasn't me. He graduated and then he went off to the navy. I was upset, but not that much. Mostly angry.
  28. At some point along this way I started questioning my sexuality.
    That's important. Also a whole other story.
  29. Shelley and I continued to work. We eventually got on to my fear of germs and food making me sick. This was the last exposure.
    Her office was in a hospital. So eating in a hospital with sick people was an completely bad idea in my book. We went to the cafeteria and she picked out what I would eat. This was so I didn't pick out something to eat that I was comfortable with. She picked out this nasty bean soup. She ate some of it first. Then I did. I sat there crying in front of doctors. She sat there with me she told me it was okay. It wasn't going to make me sick and if it did it wouldn't be the end of the world.
  30. During the summer I decided I would try medication. I was doing good but I also wanted to make sure I had something that kept me level because I was going back to school soon.
    I started medicine and I did really well.
  31. A year later I went back to Juniata.
    I did really well. Colleen let me be her roommate again. Having a sophomore for a roommate as a freshman was awesome. I worked hard. I made a lot of friends. I discovered my love for history. I ate everyday. I was happy.
  32. 5 years later I've had many ups and downs and many things have happened that if you asked me 5 years ago I would never believe.
    I fell in love with a girl. I studied abroad in Ireland and lived on my own without my family. I checked myself into a hospital because of my anxiety. Colleen, the person I thought was my best friend turned out not to be. I came out to my family. I wrote a 70 page thesis and I am proud of it. I worked at a camp for three summers with individuals with disabilities. And now I'm applying to grad schools in the UK to study forensic anthropology.
  33. Life can be absolute shit sometimes, but eventually it gets better.
    I look back on that year a lot. I learned so much about myself. Even though at the time it was unpleasant and occasionally down right horrible I wouldn't change it. If I had stayed I don't know what would have happened. I probably would have never discovered my love of history. I may have never met any of my friends. I probably never would have gone abroad. I don't know. I do know I like a lot of things that have happened after and I wouldn't change that at all.
  34. Keep moving forward ❤️