Sam Wichman; Durham, North Carolina
A couple of years ago I had tons of anxiety. I just couldn’t do anything. Having my mom on the front porch and me inside, I couldn’t handle it. The fears were so irrational. The main one I can really remember would be my parents dying, or leaving me. Now I realize that it could happen but it is a one and a million chance. I couldn’t go to school for ages. I was terrified. I would ask to leave the classroom every five minutes. Dealing with my anxiety was like climbing a giant mountain. I went up and down then started to level out. I still have to go that much more.
After a while my mom said to me, “We could try this” and it was a psychologist I was like “Yes, anything that could help.” I went there and I was so happy because it helped so much. He talked sense. He introduced a thing called points.
There would be little rewards after you earn so many points, like go out for ice cream after 25 points. Things that might earn me points would be like being in my room while my mom was out on the back porch reading for 25 minutes would be like 10 points. As it grew easier for me we would lower the points to maybe more like seven and then to five then to three. Or we would up the point ratio, 50 points to go get ice cream instead of 25.
If I remember correctly, the highest points were 500. This earned me Sam is the Boss Day, within reason. They learned that pretty quickly after the first time. Within reason meant that we could go to like a fun park and or go out for dinner, maybe go out for ice cream. Now, we don’t do that anymore which is sad. But it worked, I loved it, I felt so much better. I could let my mom go on five block walks and I could just be home. I got quite a bit better at school but there was still that bit to go.
After a year my mom came up to me and said, “Sweetie, we have something else for you to try.” And that was going to a pharmacist and see about getting stress relief medicine. I still take that and that helped so much. But there was still more.
Now it is like a year or two later. My mom comes up to me again and says, “Honey, I have something else for you to try. I think this might be the last thing.” I said, “Well, what is it?” She said it is another type of medicine. It was a homeopathic remedy. Many people don’t believe in it but I personally do.
We went to see the doctor and we must have sat in there two hours just talking about what was wrong. Everything you can imagine we talked about. Eventually, he prescribed me with this treatment and he said, “Before I let you have this I want you to read what this remedy does.” So, I open this BIG book, it is gigantic. He flips to a page and reads off of it. It sounds just exactly like me. Nervous all the time, stressed, likes word and letter games, has trouble with reading, often has dyslexia. It said, and this was the thing which really pushed it over the top, doesn’t usually like chocolate. I was amazed, “That is me, that is exactly me!”
He says, “Okay, we can try it.” He gives me a little bottle and then I am out the door, it was hot in there. My mom stays to say good bye, I swear parents take forever to say good bye. They don’t know what a good bye is: “See you soon, Bye.” They take like half an hour to say that!
At any rate, he said to my mom, some people have amazing taste buds and they can taste what is in the remedy. It is like 98% water. I take it as soon as I get in the car. Three drops on the tongue like a baby bird. I make this horrible face, it tastes just like alcohol. By now we are out the driveway and we can’t turn back around and tell him. So, my mom emails him and says Sam says the remedy tastes like alcohol.
He responds, “That is really funny. That is what everyone who takes this remedy says it taste like if they don’t say it just tastes like water.” I have gotten more used to it, but I still don’t like it that much but if it helps me with my anxiety it is worth it. Now I am down the mountain so far with just a little left to go.
Of course, the anxiety will never go away. I am still scared of major field trips and by major, I mean like going bowling or starting school and of course just nightmares. But that is just really just amazing to me that three drops every three days made that much of a difference. And now I can go to camps and enjoy them. Every time I drive past this man’s house, his name is Hart, I always thank him from the bottom of my heart that he was able to make it so that I could enjoy summer camps.
Debra Wuliger, figurative artist working with color, texture and pattern to celebrate life.
Image silhouetted with story. Ready for hanging.