College. Standing on its own, the word doesn't seem like much -- but hell does it come with so many other factors.
College can literally drive you to educational, mental and recreational extremes. It's like college coaxes this superhuman out of you, with success as your ultimate goal. It can certainly be cut-throat, and every year you just try to survive.
That's where Red Bull comes in.
The triggers were all around at college.
Take “crunch time,” for example: when you have to cram because teachers decided to pack EVERYTHING they ever taught you in a semester into one test. Some professors gave a page of “notes” to help you study, but those usually just consisted of a couple of broad bullet points.
For me, a lot of what I was tested on were topics that required my A-game in terms of creativity.
Of course, I didn't want to rush my work, but I may have waited a little too close to last minute to fully develop some of my ideas. In a moment of panic, I forced myself to become a hermit in the library and fully immerse myself in music and works I could get inspiration from.
None of it seemed to be working, so I turned to the liquid devil. Almost every other hand in the library during that time was clutching a Red Bull, so I didn't see much harm in having one or two. I definitely wasn't thinking about Red Bull's health risks.
I had the first can on an empty stomach because I was too busy pouring over my studies to think about eating. It was all fine until I had another Red Bull just after midnight.
Suddenly, the space I was in seemed to get smaller, and I started sweating and looking around. You know that feeling when it seems like everyone is watching you as you freak out? This was one of those moments.
My thoughts started spiraling, and I was thinking about crazy, minuscule things that had nothing to do with what I was doing: How am I going to drive home? What if I pass out and no one finds me here? I was literally over-analyzing everything I could possibly think of.
Then the shaking hands kicked in and moved into my entire body. I was shaking like I just watched every horror film known to man.
I went to the bathroom, and that's when everything turned super dark. I held my chest because it felt like my heart was pounding super hard, and I felt like I could hear it thudding in my ears.
I looked in the mirror and asked that notoriously complicated question: "Who am I?”
As I slid to the floor of the bathroom (yuck), I genuinely thought I could die there. (I am already a dramatic person, so this liquid drug didn't do me any favors.)
I tried looking for my phone so I could at least warn someone I might not make it out of there. I wanted to cry because all I could think about was passing out on the floor and no one knowing where I was and my mom getting some heartbreaking call that I went brain-dead in the corner of some bathroom stall.
I asked myself: 'Who am I?'
I started doing some deep breathing for about 30 minutes, and some of my sanity started to make its way back to me. I refocused my mind on things that didn't require stress, like dreaming or eating.
Before I knew it, my heart's craziness had subsided and I could actually get up without feeling like gravity would knock me right back down. This was probably the scariest panic attack that has ever happened to me because I genuinely felt like I lost control of my mind and body.
Since then, I haven't had a sip of Red Bull. Even though it's legal, the risks of the energy drink just aren't worth it.