Its 11:15am, I am sitting at my desk struggling to breathe. My heart is beating fast, my arms are lame, for the past 2 hours I cannot get myself to calm down. My tummy is spinning like a tumble dryer; it feels as if I am having an out of body experience. What’s happening to me? Am I having a heart-attack? I try to get myself to calm down; but cannot shake the feeling. I am dizzy, exhausted, nauseous and unsettled. Gasping for air, I walk into the bathroom, collapse and breakdown into tears.
For the last few years, I’ve been battling with anxiety. Some days I would be extremely nervous or feel anxious for no apparent reason. About 3 months ago, my anxiety heightened; perhaps I tried upholding a strong image for too long. I could not sleep, I lost my appetite (anyone who is close enough to me knows how much I love sleeping and eating). I would fall asleep for an hour and wake up in the middle of the night having a panic attack. At the time, I did not know I was having panic attacks. After speaking to my mom, I visited my homeopathic Dr who informed me I was having panic attacks. He prescribed homeopathic medication, put me on a machine for my nervous system and taught me a few breathing techniques (which I am eternally grateful for). It was a bitter sweet moment, as I was grateful that my heart was healthy but scared as hell of the anxiety/panic attacks. I always knew I had anxiety, I remember that constant feeling of anxiety throughout my life. When being around unfamiliar people or surroundings, sometimes in familiar places and with familiar people. Even though I have a psychology background, I was in denial and did not want to face it. Instead, I hid it away as best as I could and pretended everything was okay. It was not.
The Dr immediately put me on a machine to help my nervous system and taught me breathing exercises which have been my saving grace. A lot of unexpected changes have happened over the last few months. Everything felt extremely overwhelming, in some strange way I felt naked and exposed, like a failure. Things were not going according to plan. I was constantly comparing my life to others, questioning why certain things wasn’t happening for me. Social media obviously didn’t help my situation. In fact, it made it worse, I kept seeing happy people thinking well “what the hell is wrong with me”. Why is my life not like theirs? After my pity party, I’d get myself together and start working harder, giving more of my energy and attention to things that clearly didn’t serve me. Well, this blog post isn’t about the pity parties or the emotional mayhem. It’s about how Megan got her groove back!
Megan, the victor!
In some weird way, I am happy the anxiety attacks occurred. The anxiety attacks occurred because I was living a lie and it indicated that something wasn’t right. As a result of hiding bad experiences and emotions, the energy was stuck inside my body, suppressed, with nowhere to go. Every time something triggered a memory of a bad experience, the emotion would appear; I’d feel bad and suppress it with food. Food was my drug of choice. I gained so much weight in the last 2 years as I was in a constant state of anxiety. Weight gain, unhealthy eating and no physical activity didn’t help the situation either. I felt embarrassed to face people and tried my best to hide away. Trying to fulfil an emotional or spiritual hunger, I would eat and eat and eat. As a result, I gained back all the weight I worked so hard to get rid of.
This experience has changed me, for the better. I feel a sense of relief, like I can breathe again. I also have an entirely new perspective on life. My life’s purpose has been refined and I am claiming back my power. The last few months have been not been easy but it has taught me so much about myself and how I can overcome anything life throws at me. I’ve started meditating and praying again, I am slowing starting to eat healthy again and looking at joining a gym at the end of the month. Sometimes I still get anxiety attacks (fortunately not as frequently as before and they only last a few minutes) but now I know how to handle it. Taking care of myself is important, my emotional, physical and spiritual being needs to be balanced and in tune with each other. When I experience anxiety now, I acknowledge that I am triggered and I acknowledge it in my body but this time I find other ways to release it – by breathing correctly and speaking/writing down my emotions. I honour my anxiety, it’s my truth but now I’ve made a conscious choice to heal with love and compassion.
The anxiety attacks have been one of my greatest teachers
- I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching recently, meditating, praying and connecting to a higher power. All these experiences has taught me many lessons, but one that stands out is I want to live my life with purpose and intention.
- Striving for perfection is the thief of joy; it also puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Pain was my doorway to change. Now I know the type of relationships I want to attract and manifest in my life.
- Walk away (gracefully) from anything that no longer serves you. Listen to your intuition when you are given the warning signs.
- It sounds cliché, but everything happens for a reason, experiences (whether good or bad) molds us into the person we are meant to become.
- There’s truth in my anxiety and it has given me the opportunity to heal, lovingly.
- I will never take sleep for granted again! What a blessing it is too sleep through the night.
- I am not a victim, I am a victor!
I wrote this post to show, that with the right mindset, love and compassion, we can overcome any situation that is thrown at us!
Image credit: Tammy Jacobus
Love and Light,