When anxiety flares up, as it most certainly does from time to time, it’s important to remind ourselves that no matter how horrible it feels in the moment, anxiety is a habit, not a life sentence.
Yesterday I had a such a resurgence of anxiety and even a panic attack at work. I was so freaked I almost couldn’t pull myself out of it. With all the recent chaos in my life dealing with my Dad’s cancer and at the same time illness with my husband, most of my energy has been spent.
I have been under a tremendous amount of stress because of this, drinking too much coffee, eating poorly, and getting way too little sleep lately (Oh and I have PMS, go figure!).
In hindsight all these factors made me extremely vulnerable to falling into anxious thinking and being over-sensitized to my surroundings.
But of course I didn’t see it coming. Do we ever see anxiety coming?
Yesterday I was called off work at 9:30 am. Later in the day I received a call asking if I could go work in the ER instead. I love working there but it is not as familiar as my unit and I haven’t worked there in awhile. And the change in my schedule left me feeling uneasy.
As I drove into work I had the same feeling I get when I am driving to a dreaded social gathering where I hardly know anyone.
Because of all the driving I’ve been doing lately taking my Dad and husband to and from hospitals, my usual CDs weren’t in the car to calm me down.
I felt myself getting overwhelming feelings that I was not going to be able to think or handle being at work. That I would have a panic attack and never come out of it. My heart was racing and I was sweating and I could not calm myself down.
I had the presence of mind to realize this was my stupid anxiety habit resurfacing and trying to get me. I did have the knowledge that my thinking was distorted and that I had felt this way before.
I had to persist in telling myself that it would be ok, even though I didn’t feel like it would be ok.
Man it was hard. Every fiber of my being told me to pull over and call work and say I couldn’t come in.
That was the anxiety monster taking over and winning.
I turned off the radio and slowed down the car and used my voice of reason to help me.
I reminded myself of what I was going through lately, that I was scared. That its ok to be scared, it’s human.
I reminded myslef that I could do it afraid and if I just stuck it out for a little bit, I would be ok. I tried to do a little tapping to help me, but the thoughts kept coming back and scaring the crap out of me.
The anxiety monster told me no way, this was bad… REALLY bad this time. This time it would do me in… Do not go to work. DO…NOT..It will be devastating.
I started to believe the anxiety. Then I caught myself and reminded myslef that intellect over emotion always wins. I reminded myself that I could do the 21-7 Technique if the panic got too bad.
And then I remembered the best thing: THAT I WAS NOT ALONE.
I had God on my side to protect me, and my Grandma up in heaven who loved me so much and still watches over me.
I remembered that my mom always prays for me and that I have so many good wishes coming to me at all times from my wonderful reader friends here.
These thoughts gave me the strength I needed.
I reminded myself that I am SO fricking strong. I am so powerful, and my body and mind are healing. I have been knocked on my ass so many times by this stupid anxiety habit. But I dust myself off and get up. I REFUSED to give in to the anxiety and call in to work feigning sudden illness.
I reminded myself that This Too Shall Pass. This day will not matter not one iota in the grand scheme of things…
Can I tell you? I am so HAPPY I went to Work!
I felt like I was walking down Death Row going in to the hospital- that I was going to walk into he worst anxiety experience of my life. But I reminded myself that I could do Do it Afraid.
I remembered to have tremendous loving compassion for myself and my struggle.
I went to the ER where 2 ambulances were pulling up, and it was full to capacity. As I saw my first patient, my anxiety was about a 7 out of 10. My heart was racing and I was afraid I would blank out. But I didn’t. I was shaking a little, but I kept laser focused on what I had to do.
And by calling the anxiety’s bluff and not giving in to the fear, by acting as if I was back to normal, sure enough it died down.
As I felt myself starting to calm down, my angst melted and turned to happiness. I felt I would literally bust out of my skin, I was filled with so much joy and happiness to be able to work and do what I love.
I worked my ass off last night and the people I worked with were kind and helpful and just so amazing. I was part of a good team of people taking care of other people and that was what really counted.
It felt great.
As I drove home last night I was on cloud 9. As Zoe would say, Take THAT Panic Attacks!!
My anxiety habit is much much less than it used to be. But it does rear it’s ugly head from time to time.
I used to think anxiety was a life sentence. Now I know differently.
In closing please please remember no matter how horrible it feels in the moment, anxiety is a habit- a bad one, and it can be fixed. You hold the power within you.
I wish you peace,
If I can go toe to toe with anxiety and panic, and come out triumphant and happy after giving in to it for 30 years, YOU CAN TOO. The simple and effective 60 Second Panic Solution will help get you started: