One year ago, I began having panic attacks.
One year ago, I found the greatest therapist ever.
One year ago, I took my mental health into my own hands.
I’d always been that person who thrived on being really busy but could sometimes teeter into OMG stressed out and overwhelmed pretty easily.
Once I took my physical health into my own hands more than four years ago, my mental health improved from my healthier diet and steady exercise, but at one point last year, a healthy diet and running were no match for my anxiety, and I needed to figure out how to handle stress better.
I won’t say that I have it all figured out, and dealing with anxiety may well be something I deal with all my life, much like maintaining my weight loss,
Jordan wrote a wonderful post about anxiety the other day. About how our minds latch onto these worries and won’t let them go.
And oh lord, do I understand that. But I’ve also learned how to reframe my thoughts. And how to rationally think through those worst-case scenarios. And think about how 90% of the time, when I’m worried the worst is going to happen, the actual outcome is so much better than I ever built it up to be.
And to just move forward. Several weeks ago, I saw a post on the Buffer blog about the Seinfeld Strategy that talked about disconnecting from outcomes and focusing on the process instead. (Laura also recently wrote a post about that, and the awesome Leanne at Uplift just today wrote a post about how to get started.)
While I haven’t picked any “don’t break the chain” habits, I really like the idea of taking some of the power away from what gets my heart pumping with fear. Important email to write? Big project to start working on? Big scary workout on the calendar that if I don’t do well on might mean I don’t reach my race goal? Inbox full of emails that all need to be attended to immediately? Just get started. Just keep working through it.
I also write a lot more down on paper than I ever did. Often, just seeing my worries written out makes them a lot less scary and serious and helps me pinpoint what’s really worrying me, rather than that icky generalized panicky feeling.
The world isn’t slowing down any time soon, but I can slow down my mind, and that’s so important to me. I didn’t ask for panic attacks, but I took that hand I was dealt, and I’m stronger for it today. And I am very lucky to have an amazing support network of parents, friends, and oh yeah, you guys 🙂