We Are Our Shadows

November 14, 2014 2:20 AM

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The same year the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize, 1989, I had my first panic attack. It was my freshman year in college and in the midst of hip-hop, frozen yogurt and scrunchies, I was celebrating independence from my parents for the first time but struggling academically. I had never defined myself as anxious, nervous or worried. Instead I was the girl who doesn't worry about anything. That's how my family had always described me, and I played the part well.

As I stood in the emergency room breathing into a bag, doctors urging me to go on medication for my anxiety, I began to question my own sanity. These panic attacks left me afraid to let anything or anyone touch me for fear I might succumb to more hallucinations. Had I finally become my mother, after...

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