I have been sharing small pieces of my story on how I’ve had to deal with my anxiety and panic disorder over the years. It hasn’t been easy; but with that description, who would think that it would be? It is a topic I don’t enjoy talking too openly about but I’ve heard from so many others who are dealing with similar issues that hiding it only hurts us more.
Being honest and open about this subject will allow us to understand what is happening and begin to actually heal. Anxiety is more than just feeling “stressed out” or “tense”. It goes so much deeper than this and at first, we assume it’s a fleeting issue that just came out of nowhere. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I remember when the feelings would overcome my body, mind and being. I would start to have trouble catching my next breath. My breathing would become quicker and more shallow in unsuccessful attempts to catch my breath and relax. By this time, my body was tensing and my brain was screaming don’t let this happen again!!!
I’d become light headed, I’d have to sit down. If anyone was nearby, I became more nervous because they might figure out what was happening. I couldn’t let them know and I didn’t want them looking at me. It became a vivid nightmare come true each time.
The enormity of the moments would expand until the panic was all consuming. I’d have to find someone or something to ground me again. This would leave me completely exhausted after my body couldn’t handle anymore and the panic eventually subsided.
I remember thinking that it was only due to stressful times. But then I also suffered through happier times of my life and couldn’t figure out what was causing the problem. I would always have to find a “reason” to blame…instead of just looking at the main issues that were creating it in the first place. How do you get yourself out of a panic when you are smack dab in the midst of it? For most people who don’t understand it (as I was), it becomes a roller coaster ride of emotions and more adrenal which only fuels the anxious feelings.
I finally had to take medication to allow me to sleep at night; as the feelings would become overpowering in the middle of the night.
Yes, I visited the ER more than once due to these attacks.
This year I’ve decided enough was enough. I was going to take my life back and I wouldn’t be held hostage to these stressful times any longer. I immediately stopped taking the medication each night as they were creating strange jolt like sensations in my legs at times and I did not want to be in need of any medication for something I knew I could overcome.
Since becoming a Beachbody coach and learning more about Personal Development, my understanding in all areas has improved like never before. I now understand other people’s personalities better; heck, I understand why I do the things that I do! I used to just think I was weird or a “spazz”! I now listen more to what others have to say and not try to talk over them to tell them what I know or think. I have learned that we are all the same, in so many ways and if we disregard the people around us (whether we know them personally or not), we are doing a disservice to ourselves.
This level of understanding and constant learning has taught me to just do what needs to be done and let go of the rest. I can sense ahead of time, when my shoulders and hands start to tense up. I notice when I’m holding my breath or breathing shallow in my chest. I have techniques to relax and let go. It took some time and patience, but I have never felt so free and strong in over 22 years!
Here are the techniques I practice as much as I need to in order to break through an anxiety hold:
- Pray. I mean honestly, when you think you can control it all that means that you are not giving it up to God. We cannot control the uncontrollable so we have to be able to bless and release.
- As soon as I wake up in the morning, I smile to myself and tell myself, “Today is going to be a great day!” It all begins in our mindset and attitudes, which in turn seeps into the people that we come into contact with every day. Starting the day with my personal development definitely helps. Keeping a list of at least 10 things I feel most blessed about is also a wonderful tool. How can you be upset and anxious when reading about the amazing and wonderful blessings we have in our lives?
- Workout! Working out isn’t just about looking good, its about the feel good endorphins. It’s about something I can control, it’s about taking my own 30 minutes each day to feed my soul and to clear my mind. Working out is MY ZONE! It’s ME time. It makes me better equipped to take on the day. I remember a time of my life when the anxiety would eat at me constantly and I was battling severe bouts of depression; and the only thing that actually HELPED me was to just RUN. As far and as fast as my body would allow, but with each step, I envisioned everyone who was hurting me and all the areas that stressed me getting further and further away. It was freeing. It was MY happiness.
- Eating whole and clean foods and nothing processed or filled with unhealthy ingredients. Clean eating gives me energy to push through the physical and mental demands of my day. Eating clean gives me stable blood sugar so I don’t have the highs and lows in energy levels. It also helps me to feel more confident, have more energy to crush my workout and stay healthier.
- Drinking my Shakeology daily: It really does boost your immune system, it gives your body the vitamins your body needs to help reduce stress and anxiety along with curb cravings for sweets and other things! I remember when I first started to drink it and thought to myself, “here I go, drinking the kool-aid”…and many people can think this true of anything we don’t quite understand. But the funny thing was, was I realized my body was not craving sugary sweets anymore…which was an issue I fought with since I was a young teenager. I also realized my energy was stable and I didn’t suffer the highs and low of sagging energy needed a jolt of caffeine to PEP me up!
- Having support. I have accountability groups for fitness and health that keeps not only my challengers on track to reaching their goals; but it keeps ME on track right along with them. I actually need them just as much as they say they need me…so win-win! I also have an accountability partner for keeping up on my business goals. As a business owner, we have to be careful not to put off the important tasks in order to do what we want…or even to procrastinate something seemingly “more important” at the time. Accountability helps in all areas and it will help in anxiety issues too. Find those who understand and support you no matter what. Judgement is ugly and has no place in this environment so if you know anyone who is nasty and negative; just distance yourself from them until your contact is limited and you don’t carry their energy.
So, there you have it. My “MAGIC” steps on staying on track with my stress and emotions. You can honestly achieve whatever it is that you believe is possible. It starts with the first step….
and then in never stopping.