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When a Teacher Dismissed My Anxiety Because It's Not Diagnosed

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I have anxiety. I struggle just to get through every day. Not very many people know about it — I’ve only told a few very close friends. My family does not know. Therefore, I’ve never been to the doctor to get it officially diagnosed.

I have difficulties doing schoolwork. As a top academic student, I put an unhealthy amount of pressure on myself to keep my marks up. For me, anything under a 97 percent is not good enough. Sometimes, I get panic attacks before doing tests or assignments.

Our new semester just began. One of my teachers seemed to be open and accepting of anxiety issues and such. He invited anyone who had anxiety surrounding tests, assignments, presentations, etc., to come talk to him so he could make alternate arrangements.

I was thrilled. I could talk to him! He would understand and not judge me! But then he said it: “Anything diagnosed, of course. Self-diagnosed, well, there’s not much I can do there.”

My heart dropped to the floor. It was a last period on a Friday. That entire weekend, I could barely get myself out of bed. I worried all weekend about whether the few people who knew about my anxiety thought I was making it up for attention. I worried about whether or not I actually was making it up for attention. I spent three hours reading over articles that Sunday night. And I realized I am valid. My anxiety is valid even though it is not professionally diagnosed. My feelings are valid. I do not need anyone else to validate the way I am feeling.

I won’t go and talk to that teacher. I’ll get along like I always have. But I hope someday he’ll realize that the lack of a doctor’s diagnosis does not disprove anxiety.

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Thinkstock photo by dtiberio

Originally published: March 24, 2017
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