Singing My National Anthem: A Teenager Confronts Anxiety
Growing up, for many young people, involves a little fear. But for some teenagers, fears can become so great that it becomes hard to have even a little fun. That’s the subject of today’s Dayton Youth Radio, the first story from our newest class of young radio producers . They are students at Bellbrook High School.
My name is Sydney Krane. I am a junior at Bellbrook High School, and I would like to study computer science and music in college. I was very cautious about doing Dayton Youth Radio because talking to one person is terrifying, let alone talking to everyone listening right now.
Everybody is scared of something, but maybe not everyone fears as many things as I do. I am terrified of public speaking, spiders, heights, germs, and the list goes on. I used to have severe anxiety, which is different than just being nervous. When I was in the 5th grade, I played the piano in the talent show in front of the whole school, and I wasn’t nervous at all. I loved to show off during music class. It was in middle school that I started having pretty bad panic attacks. It would come when I had to play bassoon solos or talk in front of the class.
When I was 8 years old, my anxiety was so bad that my parents and doctors thought I had an ulcer from all the stress. This problem that I had was debilitating. Every sound, object, or movement seemed like a direct threat to my life.
I have gotten tons advice from professionals, websites, and books. I have tried every single thing they suggested. I have tried breathing exercises, drawing, listening to music, counting up...1,2,3,4,5......counting down, 98, 97,96......
None of the strategies I tried worked, except for volunteering to go first which, surprisingly, helped a lot. For the past 3 years, I have had to perform a bassoon solo in front of judges to receive a score. This has always terrified me and has made me want to quit playing the bassoon, an instrument I love. But every year, despite my shaking, crying, and inability to breathe, I score the top rating. Proving that, although my anxiety tries to get in my way, I am able to succeed in spite of it.
It was during a band rehearsal, when a senior French Horn player, Jack Long, came and talked to me about Dayton Youth Radio. I had written my name on the sign-up sheet and taken one of the release forms. That night, I had it signed by my parents, and I put it in my folder that I bring to school. I wasn't planning to turn it in.
It is crazy to think that I am doing this right now. I’m singing my national anthem to the world. It goes to show that anyone can overcome their fears. And I know, everyone out there who is afraid of something is laughing in disbelief right now, your fears seems too big to conquer, but, I believe in you. Because, I mean, sometimes my fears still get the best of me. Who am I kidding, I’m shaking right now.
This is something that I struggle with, but it isn’t something that is going to dictate my life any longer. I am fed up with my anxiety. I am done being afraid and I challenge you to be fed up with your fears as well. Don’t let them control you any longer. Like I said before, I believe in you.
Sydney Krane at Bellbrook High School. Special thanks to Katie Bills-Tenney. Learn more at the school's website: https://www.sugarcreek.k12.oh.us/Domain/40 Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.