I am not a therapist. I am a life coach who previously suffered for years with anxiety and panic.
I remember my first panic attack very clearly. I woke up in the middle of the night with extreme mental and physical feelings of panic. I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was dying. I began pacing the house because I could not relax no matter how hard I tried. My heart was racing. I was sweating. My breath was shallow. I WAS SCARED.
My husband drove me to the emergency room. My heart rate was skyrocketing and I was given fluids through an IV. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, given a pill, and sent home.
The next weekend the same thing happened again. I mean the same thing: the symptoms, the visit to the hospital, and the treatment.
I was so scared of what was happening to me. I am an overachiever and all I could think of was how this was going to get in the way of my life and achievements. What are people going to think of me?
I began analyzing anything and everything trying to figure out why this was happening. I listened to every podcast and read every book I could about anxiety. I saw a therapist. I began being anxious while driving and having panic attacks in the middle of presentations.
My safe space became my bed. I say this because I couldn't wait to get home to my bed. I still went to work all the while suffering. I forced myself to do all the things I did not want to do: drive, fly, work, present, go out with friends, and so on.
I am thankful I forced myself to do the things I would normally do. I believe if I had given in to the fears, I would have been stuck in my house and stuck in this nightmare for much longer. I learned, however, that it was easier to accept the anxiety then to force myself through life. This took me a long time to realize. I kept hearing it from all the experts but was also trying to force the acceptance. Ok I accept. I wasn't really accepting though. I was just saying the words and not believing them.
I began meditating. I forced myself to meditate because I was so restless. Soon, I began enjoying the time for me and relaxation. This was when the ultimate realization came. I was stressed. I was spinning too many plates and my body was telling me so. Although I believed I could handle everything handed my way, my body could not.
I began evaluating my life. I came to the realization that I was not enjoying life. I believe all the time spent focused on how to get rid of the anxiety was exacerbating the anxiety. Instead, I began reading about life, personal development, and more.
This was the life altering moment in my life. I decided from here on out to live life and live happy. This did not happen overnight, but now I had a purpose in life. I am sure I always had a purpose, I just had never thought about it before. I reevaluated how my time was being spent. Most of my time was spent on external achievements and making everyone else happy.
I needed to make some changes. Although I was amazing at my career, it was no longer enough. I began evaluating what I had on my plate and strategically removing things that no longer resonated with me. I have wondrous gifts I was not using to the fullest. And guess what?! I became excited to use my gifts to help others! I was no longer stressed, anxious, and having panic attacks.
Looking back, I feel that this part of my life was a blessing in disguise. My anxiety brought me to where I am today, helping others and living happy. If not for my anxiety, I would still be spinning 27 plates and forcing myself through everyday journeys of life that are not meaningful.
Thank you anxiety.
Commit to living happy now!
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