Anxiety and panic attacks
It is almost five months since the day of Brian's sudden passing and I continue to have days where I feel like I am living on the edge of experiencing anxiety.I have done many counceling sessions throughout my life and have dug deep to uncover what was required for healing. Anxiety was not one of my issues. But in February of 2008 when one of my best friends passed away, A few days later I had my first (and only) panic attack. I remember the panic attack clearly. I was on a call with my mastermind team and I was laying on my bed emotionally exhausted.
As I was sharing with them how my dear friend died and my deep sorrow that she left behind her eight month old twin girls, I began to feel a sudden tightness in my chest, my heartbeat began to rise, my palms got sweaty and I felt like I could not breath. I immediately jumped off the bed and rushed to step outside on our patio, I felt like I desperately needed more air.
My mastermind team coached me to take deep breaths and change my thoughts, I eventually calmed down. I realized I had a panic attack. I became curious. Anxiety has not been a part of my life since, but now with the unexpected loss of Brian most days I feel I am one step away from experiencing it.
My daily reality Is that at some point throughout the day I experience an unbearable sadness and an overwhelm of all my new responsibilities and decisions. What I have identified for myself after my friend died was that when I have unexpressed intense emotion and a feeling of overwhelm, anxiety becomes a part of my experience. Today I know what I must do to avoid being overtaken with anxiety and it is working, one day at a time.
I am not an expert when it comes to anxiety or panic attacks and I appreciate it can be a very intricate condition but I am sharing what I have discovered that keeps anxiety at bay with the hopes that it will make a difference for others. When I do the below consistently my days are manageable and I experience more moments of joy. * Consistently asking for help, even when it is uncomfortable to do so. * Taking time each day to simplify and clarify my daily priorities, even when I do not feel like it or feel like I am incapable. * Expressing my grief - daily.
For me this is the biggest piece and the one I have to be most intentional about. Partly I express my grief through sharing with you. Often before and after I write a post I have a good cry. In addition I talk to my mother almost daily, she asks me a few questions and I cry like a baby, no doubt she is my safe place to fall. I also have a handful of friends I can call at anytime and share with them my deep pain. To ensure I express my grief, I have also made it a daily practice that when I take my morning shower I am present with my sadness, some days I do not want to go there but most days I do.
As I let the water splash all over my face and body, I connect with the ache in my heart and let the tears flow, often I let out a guttural cry. The days I do not simplify and connect with my deep sadness, I am less then my best and am teased by the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety can be very complicated, as I said I am not an expert, but I wonder if we consciously chose to simplify when we feel overwhelmed and have an unwavering commitment to express our most uncomfortable emotions, could it be a step towards an anxiety free life?