Like most people, my high school experience wasn’t all that great. Sure, I had great friends and did a lot of dumb things that I thought made me cool that I can now laugh about, but overall, high school sucked.
I moved to a new city and was thrown into a school system where everyone had known each other for their whole lives – more than that, their mothers had done ‘mummy and me’ yoga together. I knew no one, in a sea of people that had known each other before birth. I felt alone, and had never tried so hard to make friends.
Every time I would go to school and hear about “family” dinners involving most of my science class, I started to get down on myself. I couldn’t understand why I was being left out, why I wasn’t being invited.
Luckily, I started making friends, and getting invited to things, and finding my way. But because high school is high school, and kids are mean, my fear of missing out continued to plague me. I was insecure. I kept feeling like I couldn’t keep up with everyone else, and I didn’t have what it took to fit in. In Year 8, my dad died, and anxiety became an all too real character in my life.
Soon, I started driving myself crazy with theories about everyone hanging out without me. I imagined large parties taking place at lake houses and fun sleepovers where everyone bonded in such a way that they could never not be friends. I kept on thinking, and worrying, and fearing exclusion that it became a part of me. I had FOMO (fear of missing out) before I even knew what it was. It wasn’t trendy yet, and it didn’t come and go when I heard about fun parties happening without me. No. It was constant, nagging, and miserable.