In my early twenties, the Spring/Summer after I graduated from college and was heading into university, out of nowhere, I began having panic attacks. This quickly and unexpectedly escalated into Panic Disorder, which is when one suffers from severe panic attacks for fear of having another panic attack. It’s a lonely and vicious cycle.
For two long years, I lived in this dark, frightening place. I couldn’t stay in lectures longer than 5-10 minutes, I failed several classes, I wouldn’t see friends and I even struggled to be able to go home on breaks to visit my own family. It was “fight or flight,” and flight won every single time. I was only comfortable in the prison of my own apartment, and the only person I could be around was Jon. I was a breath away from being an agoraphobe. It was easily the worst chapter of my life. With a lot of work, I was among the lucky who was able to climb out of that desolate hole with no lasting effects and without medication.
Last year at this time, shortly after I quit smoking, and with 10 years between me and the superhuman-grip of anxiety, I had a panic attack in the middle of the night. Within days, I started falling right back into that hole. The prospect of dealing with an Anxiety Disorder all over again, but this time with kids and a busy life, was more terrifying than I could possibly endure. But then, a whole series of random (or not so random!) events led me an old You Tube video entitled “Yoga For Complete Beginners” by Sean Vigue Fitness.
At the time, there was only a hand full of views, and this guy was kind of dorky and silly, but I followed his morning yoga routine religiously every day at sunrise. Within a couple of weeks, all symptoms that had slowly started creeping back into my life completely vanished. I discovered that he has hundreds of yoga and pilates videos for free on You tube, and I think I’ve experimented with nearly every single one of them by now, (which in case you didn’t know, is HUGE for me – because I had never purposefully exercised a day in my life!) Incidentally, since then, he created a facebook page, has acquired thousands of followers and subscribers, has been featured in several fitness magazines and has been able to monetize his free videos. So, I’ve kind of been on this journey with this complete stranger who lives in Celebration, Florida., and has no idea that he saved my life.
Anyhow, to this day, I still do that beginner yoga routine every single morning before the kids wake up as a way to practice healthy breathing, to clear my mind, to achieve balance and to centre myself. So, for yoga, clarity of mind, and everything coming together at exactly the right moment, I have gratitude. Namaste 🙂
How do you cope with anxiety?