One day in March of 2020 I experienced my first of many panic attacks. I had run out to pick up my meds at the nearby pharmacy. I returned home when I finally lost control and broke down. I couldn’t hide the tears anymore as they stung my eyes and rolled down my face.
I would describe the four months which followed as ‘the crisis stage.’ At that time, I was barely able to do anything for myself and needed the constant help of a network of people around me. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and was prescribed medication to help with this.
That was over 18 months ago and, since then, I’ve managed to like myself enough to reinvent myself. Though I still feel as if I’m only at the start of a long journey, I’ve started to change.
This is the story of the steps I happened upon which helped me along the way.
Live in the Moment
Much of my time has been spent in reflection trying to learn lessons about my past. But all I was doing was reliving so much guilt from the things I did wrong. When I tried to look forward and plan, fear tended to pin me down. My critical self constantly reminded me that I was neither capable nor worthy of anything too successful.
As much the lesser of the evils as anything else, I started to realize that there was not too much to hate about myself if I simply contemplated the person I was in the present. That was the first spark of light in the darkness.
While a lot of people have told me different techniques to use when having a panic attack unfortunately what they don’t understand is what it is like being in one and not being able to have any control.
Although I have found some techniques I have worked on keeping my stress and anxiety to a minimum unfortunately the thing with anxiety or panic attacks are sometimes you don’t know the source that is causing you to be stressed.
I can remember having an argument with my mother. And before I knew it my heart rate was up, my breathing was fast and shallow, it was very difficult for me to focus on anything other than the object in front of me. Then I felt my body go on auto pilot where I was no longer in the driver seat. Oh I felt my body starts to rock back and forth very slowly and subtle at first but gradually and very quickly mind you my momentum and speed of my rocking picked up faster and faster.
Of course I understand it’s never as easy as just deciding you want to live in the present. medical conditions such as addictions or psychological conditions like PTSD can make that simply impossible without some professional help. What I do know, however, is that living in the present between my first step to achieving some self compassion.
You Are Enough
I quickly return to an old familiar friend, reading. I was late returning after a long journey finally returning home to something you know and feel comfortable with it finally gave me up a safe place to go to.
As I started to read I had a heartbreaking moment of self-awareness: I realized how much self-hate I’ve been nurturing myself with over the years. It broke my heart knowing that every time I had it to the opportunity I have slammed the door in my own face, telling myself I did not deserve it.
Realizing this finally helped me Sees something that I’ve been missing. There is no “better” me and equally, there’s no need for one. I don’t need to be richer, lighter, more successful, or better dressed. I need to work with the forgetful disorganized woman reflected in the mirror. That is the same woman with the imagination, the dream, and the thirst to have her own business.
Before I could start to fully except the bad and the good in myself, hi need to learn to forgive myself for mistakes of my past. For example like chameleons changing their color to blend in with their surroundings y’all tend to adapt our behavior to the situation we are in. The person I am around my family is not the same person I am when I’m sitting home by myself.
It was time for me to stop in myself up for the bad habits that never seem to change and except that I would never be perfect. So what if I slept late in the mornings, for example? It wasn’t actually laziness; it was because I also stayed up late at night. As long as I put in the hours it didn’t matter when the work day started and when it ended.
Life became much brighter when I realized I had to work with the bad as well as it did. All of me was all I had and that was more than enough.
Find the Treasure Within
Becoming aware that I needed to forgive myself for my bad traits opened my mind to consider what was that about me. People around me seem to notice that I tend to light up like a Christmas tree when I talk about things I’m passionate about, and when I feel like I feel useful.
I was blessed with a very odd side of skills that I am truly happy that I have. However at the same time it makes trying to find a job difficult because I’m so knowledgeable but I don’t have a degree to deal with it. That is why I have done about starting my own business because it is something I truly enjoy and that I am good at and passionate about.
It brings me tremendous joy when my family calls me for a tech question or asked me for advice on something that I am very good about. As a first step, however, you should definitely open your mind to contemplate your positive side.
As I’ve been working through this I have been able to recognize the voice of my critical self and to argue with it. I had to challenge are those limiting beliefs and rationalize what I wanted to do.
There are three big steps that I have taken and continuously have to work to get to a point where I can believe in myself and enjoy the world around me.
- Live in the moment
- Realize that you are more than good enough, warts and all.
- Good to know the treasure that is within you that you can share with the world.
For sure these are big steps, and possibly some of the hardest ones you may ever have to take. They may not be for everyone. There are countless ways to get back up on your feet when you’ve been knocked down. By taking these, however, I tend to know who I am, then to love and finally to be that person.