Day 24 – March SOLSC
I’ve always battled with anxiety since I was a young girl. Always a worrier. Always an over thinker. Always nervous. As I got older, I guess I learned coping strategies and while I would worry or get nervous in different situations, I was able to work through them. I was able to keep going. It never really held me back or disrupted my life. I did well in school and went away to college – sure I was homesick and had moments of anxiousness, but I “plowed” through.
Then in 2006, my dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly 4 months before my wedding. This caused my anxiety to ramp up to a new level. My worries became magnified. I worried about something happening to my mom, or my brother, or my then fiancé, or anyone I cared about. I was afraid to be alone because I just worried and worried. Seeing a therapist helped and I was able to get my anxiety under “control.”
I now know, it was probably never under real control. I just learned how to push things aside and either block out feelings or suppress them. I’m not even really sure how I was able to keep myself going.
This January, I had my first ever panic/anxiety attack. My heart was racing and I couldn’t calm down. The more I noticed that my heart was racing out of nowhere, the more I panicked. I was convinced that something was wrong with my heart (my dad died from a massive heart attack). I spent the day in the emergency room hooked up to heart monitors and getting blood work done. All tests came back normal – nothing wrong with my heart. Just my anxiety.
This was my wake up call. Time to start taking care of myself instead of just everyone else. Time to start making myself a priority and to stop saying “I just don’t have time,” or “it’s just too expensive.” After the panic attack, I followed up with a new doctor who has me on the right track. I’ve joined the gym and got myself hooked up with an amazing trainer. She’s teaching me (aka torturing me) about muscle groups, strength training, and endurance. She’s simply amazing! I now work out 4-5 times a week (and my husband does too)! We finally started to prioritize and realize that both of us should be taking better care of ourselves.
I wish I didn’t have to have a panic/anxiety attack in order to make self-care a priority, but maybe it’s the push I needed. I’ve learned that it’s ok to be selfish sometimes. I feel better than I’ve ever felt before. I’m happier – have more energy. I’m probably a better mom, wife, and teacher too. We even signed up for The Bronx Zoo 5K run next month. A lot of good has come out of a bad, scary event in my life. It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself!
I’m participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge! Thank you to the team of writers at Two Writing Teachers for this wonderful writing community. A place for us to grow together as writers.