Have you ever felt like you have everything under control? It’s the best feeling, right? I’d like to think, that for the most part, that’s me. I see myself as being pretty resilient and someone that can cope with the curve balls that life seems to keep throwing my way. I work hard, enjoy life and focus on the things that matter. Like most people, I just take life one day at a time.
About four months ago I had my first anxiety attack and it was completely unexpected. Prior to that, I’d felt confident that something like this would never happen to me. I was obviously wrong. This may sound odd, but even though it was horrible to experience I felt a deep sense of gratitude. It gave me a tiny glimpse into an illness that’s impacted the life of someone I love very much and given me the chance to say, “I get it.”
After having the first anxiety attack, I began to take steps to improve what was causing the initial worry. Weeks later I had another one and realized that I still had work to do. My second experience was so powerful that I called my mother-in-law in tears and asked her to accompany me to the Dr.’s office. I’ve never reached out to her before for something personal and like most people I hate crying in front of others, but I had no choice. I was overwhelmed and felt a huge need to not be alone. I needed support.
The realization that my life was being impacted by this, more than I had anticipated, was taking root and all I wanted to do was yank it out. After a couple of months of doing well, I was shocked last week when I felt the initial signs that I was having another one. It was triggered by a phone call, of all things, a voice and a memory of the night I had my first anxiety attack. I was baffled. How in the world could I be perfectly fine one minute and then just like that, feeling so off balance?
I was fortunate that my husband and I were sitting down having dinner together and he was able to reassure me right away that I was going to be ok. Having someone that I could reach out to was incredibly comforting and helped the anxiety not to spiral out of control. Looking back I’m grateful I wasn’t alone, but always being around others isn’t a realistic aim. I’m mentally preparing myself for the fact that unpredictability is the one thing I can count on at this point.
I’ve now taken many steps to fix the initial worry. I also know what my trigger is and that reaching out to someone right away helps tremendously. Knowing all of these things helps me feel reassured that I’m in a better place, but I know that my journey isn’t over. I’m considering joining a support group or beginning therapy sessions with a professional. I’m also doing plenty of research, and reminding myself daily that it’s ok to not have all the answers.