My friend Nanea wrote a piece about dealing with panic attacks and anxiety last year that changed my world for the better in more ways than I can count.
Because of parental stressors beyond my control, I was in the middle of the worst panic and anxiety spiral I’d ever experienced, had to quit my day job, and had stopped leaving the house because that’s where the panic attacks happened. By being brave enough to share her similar issues, her words gave me the courage to go to the psychiatrist, which gave me back my life.
Showing what I perceived as weakness was the scariest thing in the world for someone with a Mean Inner Drill Sergeant like mine, and when you add social anxiety and panic attacks to the mix, getting to a psychiatrist seemed like some kind of an impossible miracle.
But my extreme respect for my friend gave me the power to finally get help. I actually repeated to myself, “Nanea did this, you can do it too. Nanea got help, you can get help too,” to summon the courage to set up the appointment and get my terrified butt into the psychiatrist’s chair. I was diagnosed with a brain chemical imbalance called generalized panic and anxiety disorder with agoraphobia, given medication that immediately stopped the panic attacks and constant anxiety, and everything has been so much better ever since.
All because my friend was brave enough to talk about her own anxiety disorder.
Nanea, if you ever have a moment during which you doubt your positive impact on the world, you can forever glance over into the “wins” column in your mind where I will be smiling and giving you the thumbs-up sign for the rest of your life.* Thank you. ♥
Please read her latest piece (from her website, Sweatpants & Coffee) about depression, panic attacks, and having an anxiety disorder, because the more we all learn about chemical imbalances and other atypical neurology/psychology, the less stigmatized it will be. So many people, like me, spend their lives feeling weak for not being like everybody else without realizing that “everybody else” sometimes feels the same way. Words have so much power for good.
In short: You are not alone, and if you need psychological help, remember that getting help doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are strong enough to do what you need to do to make your life better. You are brave, even if you feel scared. You can do it. xoxo.