on managing anxiety

i had a panic attack.

even writing that down feels surreal.

i hadn’t experienced one in years, and even then it was different.

i’d have them as the direct result of something I was currently experiencing-

like my car breaking down.

this time it was solely due to my thoughts + the physical manifestation of months of anxiety that I let build up.

when it happened, I was on the phone with my sister and I was describing a situation that happened the previous day: I was driving with my daughter in the car and started feeling my anxiety creep up [chest tightening + lightheadedness] and I felt like I could’ve passed out if I didn’t get back in control. This is the thought that triggered my panic attack. And this time I couldn’t get in control of it. Thankfully I made it to a nearby 711 and my mom was able to come get me. I initially thought that I needed to seek immediate medical attention because that’s how unwell I felt, but as time passed I realized what I had just experienced.

i am sharing this because of the message in what led up to this moment. I always advocate for self-care as a way to stay mentally well. I found journaling, gratitude journaling, and affirmations to be extremely helpful for over a year. But at some point at the end of last year I found myself more interested in bath + wine nights and skincare routines then doing the actual work that helped me stay afloat when I was going through the toughest time in my life. I felt like I didn’t need to journal as consistently or do anything extra because things finally seemed fine. I thought I was “ok.”

then, Kobe Bryant died and it shook the world. As a parent, this tragedy brought up recurring thoughts about dying and leaving my daughter behind. This is when I started losing control…of my thoughts + my positive mindset. January seemed like a long and rough month. I experienced a few disappointments. Then, fast forward to the Coronavirus pandemic that we are currently facing, several things I was looking forward to getting cancelled and just general fear for the future and it was a recipe for mental disaster.

this is for anyone who feels overwhelmed or who deals with anxiety or is just stressed about the uncertainty of things. We have to take things one day at a time. Look at what’s in front of you right now. Don’t worry about what hasn’t happened or what could happened or what may never happen now. Do the work to stay well in all aspects. I’ve re-started/started doing the following:

•journaling daily again

•keeping up with my gratitude journal

•stopped drinking coffee [caffeine can make anxiety worse]

•started taking walks daily as weather permits

•stopped consuming so much news + negativity [literally have had to tell people to stop talking to me about certain things if they can only be negative and fearful]

i am in such a drastically better mental space then I was a week ago simply by making a few changes in my daily habits. If you’ve been struggling, I want to encourage you that you are not alone. And we will get through this + be better from it.

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