I debated about whether I should post about this and ultimately decided that I wanted to share it with all of you. Maybe it can help someone. More likely, it's good for me to write it out.
I had a panic attack on Thursday. At work.
I've never gone through such a thing before, so when it was happening I didn't know what exactly was happening, other than I couldn't breathe, which made me feel even more frantic. Basically, my body was having a reaction to stress.
What caused the stress? Very simply: my own mind. When I don't have an immediate solution to something, I dwell on the problem. Then dwelling turns to catastrophizing.
The Real IssueIndependence has always been a big theme for me. I've been classified as the "strong" one many times in my life. I've taken pride in that. However, labels can cause more damage than good. While I was busy being the strong one, I was cheating myself out of the very necessary practice of being vulnerable. Or rather, I failed to see that vulnerability = strength.
I haven't voiced enough--on here or in real life--how much I miss London, how I think about it everyday, and how I unhealthily compare it to San Diego. Every. Day. I've been needing to voice it, but I haven't. For fear of sounding like a broken record, or for fear of seeming too weak, I suppose. I wanted to move on to getting happier and feeling better, but failed to voice how I was really feeling.
So let me write this out once. How I really feel:
I am a woman who absolutely loved living abroad and is completely unsure if I made the right decision in coming home. I feel pressures from family to stay in my hometown. I also know I haven't given my hometown a proper chance since being back and am unsure how to do so. I want to learn how to appreciate life no matter where I am, but I can't shake the feeling that I was made to live in other places. I am stubborn and want to be perceived as having strength; while sometimes I am strong, I also have moments of incredible weakness. I am human. I don't like to admit that. I've been feeling sad, edging on depression for the last few months. I've been feeling stuck and suffocated. This all finally caught up with me, and so my body reacted to all the turmoil!
The Real SolutionThe good thing about panic attacks (there's a good thing?) is that it forces you to talk. I don't have a choice to hide my thoughts any longer. So I'm talking. And even looking into seeing a therapist if that will help me sort through my layers UPON layers of thoughts. I'm saying a prayer to the higher power.
I'll end on a high note: the other day, my friend pointed out that I always show him pictures of bridges, and that I "must really love them." You know what? I do. I love the idea of crossing over bodies of water (or anything with a death drop) and making it to the other side. Total faith must be put in the bridge--and the process of crossing the bridge--to get to the safe haven. No matter the dangers that are threatened (earthquakes, strong winds, typhoons), I will choose to cross anyway. I'm crossing now, knowing I have to put the legwork in being more open and more vulnerable. I choose to not let anxiety control my thoughts; I'm crossing over instead.
Funny enough, these pictures were taken the very day I had the panic attack (I had it earlier in the day). Funny how bad days always have the opportunity to turn around into something beautiful.
How do you deal with anxiety? Your tips and tricks would actually be very appreciated!