Personal Reflection: Overcoming Anxiety

If you’re struggling day to day with a battle over anxiety that grips the wheel, makes you feel helpless and quite frankly floors you with a scare that makes you curl up in a ball, fraught with tears, this is for you.

11 years ago, I was where you are.

I was apart of a downsizing at Johnson Controls in Los Angeles due to the 2008 financial crisis, and was at a bit of a career crossroads in my life. I knew I had been in HR for 6 years and had some side gigs with my then part-time startup/never-fully-growing micro-business.

I wanted to throw in the towel.

I wanted to hide in my wife’s lap with my hands over my head to get this physical pain to go away. Because that’s what anxiety is…physical pain in your brain. It’s not like a lapse of anxiousness when your trying to handle an insurance bill, or getting a crown put in and the drill turns on.

This. Was. Absolutely. A. Physical. Entity. Taking. Over. My. Body.

My biggest worry? When would the next panic attack hit? Bills, family, heading back East, my next career move, all were a subsidiary to this new villain. Going places felt like a challenge. Being outside would drive me crazy. Looking at clouds absolutely spiraled me into a feeling of vertigo.

This was my new normal. But what the villain didn’t know was that it was a temporary new normal. Something inside me took-over and yelled CHANGE! WHATEVER IT IS, START WITH ONE THING.

One thing turned into two. Two to four.

I put my head down and worked hard to grow my then full-time micro-business. I Created a daily schedule. Worked out and jogged. Made time for some passions again. Went back to church. Got involved in the community and volunteered. Made time for hanging with good friends at fun events and spots in town. Learned to meditate (thanks @danbharris, even if your advice at the time was coming from a self-proclaimed newb also, it mattered greatly). Ate healthier and joined Weight Watchers. Lost 100 pounds, the hard and slow way. Started landing clients, started saving money again.

I knew I spread myself too thin all those years leading up to my breakdown and needed to find balance again. I needed to find happiness.

So little by little, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, my TRANSFORMATION took place and stayed there. Four years later, I beat that villain.

To this day, anxiety is apart of who I am, it never goes away, I’m wired like that. But I know how to live with it, how to cope better, how to avoid triggers. Things you do not have to research right away, rather learn individually and grow your knowledge from there.

It starts with one, single, life-altering change. Go make your change.

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