Afraid of Being Afraid

Recently, I had another surge of anxiety. The kind that rendered me pretty much helpless. The kind that knocked me off my feet, literally and figuratively. I had to rely on my husband for everything and thankfully, he was more than up for the challenge.

I had driven to a business meeting, two hours away from home and on my drive back, I had to pull over. I sat in a parking lot of a bagel shop for two hours, crying, trying to breathe and talking to my parents and my husband on the phone. A dear friend in the area came and picked me up and allowed me to crash in his spare bedroom until my husband and best friend could come to pick me up the next day.

I was embarrassed. I was heartbroken. I was decimated. I didn't want to face the fact that the anxiety was back. I was getting published with my story of how I overcame anxiety. And now I was back to square one.

To put it frankly, WTF. 

When I got home, laying on the couch was about all I could muster for the first two days. I couldn't even bring myself to take my daughter to the bus stop, two blocks away. I laid on the couch, watching comedies and kids cartoons that I knew by heart. I slept and I cried. I tried desperately to get my shit together but I couldn't. 

I couldn't force it. Even though I was trying like crazy to do just that.

This wasn't one of those times where I could snap myself out of it, like I've done hundreds of times over the years. This was taking over my very being. I was scared out of my mind. I was scared I was losing my mind.

The absolute worst thing about anxiety for me is the very concept of fear. It's not the panic attacks themselves (although they completely suck). It's not the medications and the side effects (also not all that enjoyable). It was the fear I felt. 

I was afraid of everything but that wasn't the one that got me the worst. It was the fear of being afraid. I was anxious about being anxious. How very meta of me. 

Anxiety, when it hits me, has a way of making me feel like I've lost all control of the very things that I have worked hardest to reign in: my mind and my emotions. My mind wanders off into horrible territory and before I know it, my emotions are right there with it, making my physical body have an experience that I cannot wish away no matter how hard I try. 

Breathing doesn't always help me when it comes to anxiety. Breathing doesn't always center my mind like it does when I'm not in the midst of a panic attack. And the constant worrying that I am about to have another attack, that I'm absolutely going to lose it in front of someone, weighs on me like nobody's business. I was afraid to be afraid. Again.

I was afraid of what people would think if I lost it in a public place. I was afraid of how my kids would react if they saw me in a full blown attack. I was afraid that I was losing my ability to care for them the way I know I can. 

So, I had to do what I've always done. I had to take things one day at a time. I had to come up with a plan and stick to it. I had to figure out what was triggering this wave of anxiety and address it.

Because, shocking I know, ignoring it doesn't make it go away. 

The only way to get past it is through it. Which is true with most things in life I think. It is not rocket science. Nor is it any great secret that hardly anyone knows.

But it's hard. So incredibly hard.

But it's worth it. 

If you haven't heard, I'm hosting a circle of 10 women who want to know what life is going to be and how they're going to get there. If 2018 hasn't lived up to your standards just yet, why don't you check out the Inspired & Empowered Women's Circle and see if it's a fit for where you are today. Let me know if you have questions!