Student opens up on anxiety disorder, talks self-care
With a pre-existing anxiety disorder, Hayley Dymond feared the unknown when she decided to attend Central Michigan, even when both her parents and older sister graduated from here.
Now a junior, Dymond is majoring in psychology, she’s a leader advancement scholar and is the president of the Resident Student Organization A Letter For Better. Living life to the motto “Be Patient," Dymond is doing her best to stay on top of hectic school and personal commitments.
What’s the biggest struggle or fear you’ve had to overcome?
That is a loaded question. It's probably my anxiety disorder – overcoming that has been quite the journey.
When did that start?
I’ve always had an anxious disposition about myself. I’ve always worried a lot about everything. But it got really bad last year in my sophomore year.
Would you mind talking about it?
(My anxiety disorder) is why I’m going into psychology, so – I love talking about it.
In January of last year, I started getting panic attacks all the time and that was extremely hard. When second semester started I would go to class and just have a panic attack right there and it was really hard just to get up and go to class like a normal student.
That’s the main reason why I’m here, to be a student, and I couldn’t even go to class.
What did you do to change it?
I started trying to go to therapy and possibly get medication for it and do more research and educate myself on it and see if there are other people that have gone through the same thing I have. I also did a lot of self-improvement over the summer. I still struggle with it every day, but it’s something I’m learning to manage.
Well if you feel it, how do you manage it?
I just target my thoughts that I’m having and recognize that I’m having these negative thoughts and try and rationalize with myself. Deep breathing and meditation are also really helpful when I am feeling anxious.
Tell me about your first day here. What was it like?
The first day was very scary. I was really tired because I didn’t get any sleep the night before because I was nervous and was seeing all my friends before I left. It was just a long exhausting day and then going to Leadership Safari – it was just a very long and hard time.
So how did you deal with it?
I let myself go home a lot. I just needed my home at that time and normalcy. And then I just forced myself to go out of my comfort zone and see what Central had to offer and see what I could get involved in and to make it feel like home here.
Tell me about something that makes you nervous?
Public speaking, definitely. It’s always been kind of difficult for me. It’s like stage fright, but it’s really just presenting to a large group of people.
Has that always been a fear of yours?
Since middle school. I was giving a presentation and my body just stopped working and then I got nervous, hot, couldn’t speak, sweating and so I think after that it started to go downhill from there. That was in eighth grade. I just remember being frozen and it was terrible.
Did you ever expect your college life to happen the way it did?
I don’t even know like five years ago, I didn’t even think about college life. I just had no idea what college life even looked like.
Tell me about your morning. Do you have a routine?
For the most part. I always start with coffee because I have to. Today was a few hours late, but I still have to have it. I always try and get a good breakfast in, I usually go on my phone and do all that stuff. I never work out or do any exercise in the morning. That’s for later in the day.
Finish this sentence: when I looked in the mirror this morning, I saw ____?
I just saw the morning version of me: sleepy.
Do you like the morning version of yourself?
Yeah, why not? It’s not a bad part of me.
Would you say you have any life philosophies, or words you live by?
Good things come to those who wait. That’s always been my thing. Just being patient, really. I have this bracelet on my wrist that says, “Be Patient” so just being patient with yourself and others.
Is that something your parents taught you, or something you saw on Pinterest, or what was it?
It’s just something I developed over time. I’ve always been a patient person, but sometimes I just get way into my head and wish that things were happening, or not happening, especially with anxiety. It’s just about being patient with my body and my progress.