Coping with anxiety and panic attacks takes it’s toll. We have to do all the things everyone else does, only with anxiety lurking in the shadows, just waiting to lunge at us. We shop, get the kids off to school, go to work, socialize, pay bills, celebrate holidays, keep the peace in the house, argue with our mate, fall into bed exhausted, and then get up and do it all over again..
Navigating life with an anxiety disorder is no piece of cake.
I effectively ruined my whole summer because I was in knots worried about my daughter starting high school. Since she had phobias and panic attacks in 2nd grade and then again in middle school, I was convinced that the transition to a new school would be too much for her. Certainly she would end up just like her mother, with full blown panic disorder, right?
I couldn’t relax this whole summer because of this dread and worry for her. It made my anxiety worse. I had a really crappy summer. I didn’t sleep well, I had a lot of migraines, and my anxiety was worse than normal. Worrying is like suffering twice- if the dreaded situation ever even happens. And – I am thrilled to say- it didn’t.
She came home after her first day of 9th grade like it was no big deal. She was FINE. She talked a little about her classes and who she ate lunch with. Then she went outside to play.
And that’s when I did the happy dance of joy around the kitchen. I was SO DAMN HAPPY, and all my feelings came out at once. I’m telling you it was like the angels of heaven were singing. I don’t remember feeling so happy in my entire life.
And then out of nowhere I started crying. I went from ecstatic happiness to complete and utter sorrow. I was actually in a heap on the kitchen floor balling my eyes out.. Part of me was so relieved for her, and the other part was sad for me- for all the worry I put myself through.
After about 20 minutes, I felt back to myself. I went to wash my face- and I felt better for letting these strong feelings out.
With anxiety, we spend a lot of time covering up how we feel to the outside world, lest someone think we’ve gone off the deep end. Sometimes we even hide what we’re really feeling from ourselves. I read a great article today that talks about how important it is to give yourself permission to be human.
Ever been told, “Don’t cry… Everything will be okay…”? Turns out your alleged love one could have been the one responsible for that episode the following year when you spent three weeks in bed watching The Facts of Life re-runs.
“When you feel like crying, cry,” Ben-Shahar advises. “When you feeling like laughing, laugh.” He refers to something called Ironic Processing, which promises that suppressing an emotion will only ensure its clear announcement later. That totally appropriate crying fit could become prolonged despondence or an act of rage if suppressed. Instead, permit yourself unconditional acceptance and be okay with exactly who you are–tears, shame, crazy fits and all.
If you had a rough day because of anxiety and you feel like having a good cry- then cry. Shed some tears and let the sorrow out.
On the other hand, if you had a really good day- say you were able to get through an important business meeting or social function without having a panic attack- this is cause to rejoice! Play some loud music and dance around your kitchen. Sing out loud. Look back on your day and smile. Journal about it- mark the event so you won’t forget how great this day was.
Or if you need to dance with joy and then cry with sorrow like me, that’s OK too. 🙂
What can you do to honor your feelings and give yourself permission to be human today?
I wish you peace,
Want to know how I’m doing so well after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for so long? I recommend and use Panic Away. Click on the link to get started today and reclaim your life from fear.