Anxiety: The Worst Houseguest Ever

By Wednesday, October 30, 2019 7 3

Something happened to me in February that changed me entirely. And permanently. Or so I hope.

On February 13th I experienced a panic attack. I’ve never had one before, but suddenly I was frozen at my kitchen sink as absolute terror overtook every cell of my body. It lasted 6 days because I had no idea it was.

It was the most shocking, horrible, debilitating experience I’ve ever had. I was convinced it was an awful disease because I couldn’t accept that my mind — not mine — could do this. When I finally accepted it was my mind, I didn’t trust myself and that’s a very unstable place to be. Aftershocks of severe anxiety rocked me for months.

I had never met anxiety until it came to visit that day. I know I’ve never met it because I would’ve remembered. I’m not talking about “I’m a little nervous, let’s go to yoga” anxiety, I’m talking “I’m out of my body with terror, let’s imagine ALL the worst-case scenarios and cry a lot” anxiety. Once I allowed anxiety into my house, it had every intention to stay forever. It’s the worst houseguest ever. It’s black mold in my walls. I had to strip myself down to the studs to rid myself of its sickness.

This light installation by Mihoko Ogaki became my spirit animal

The panic attacks and anxiety were my mind’s way of waking me up. It was like being woken up from a sound sleep by a fire alarm directly into my ear. I was fully out one moment and fully awake, fists up ready to get medieval the next.

I saw how life just happens for many and I was heading that way. It’s easy to fall asleep on yourself. It’s easy to think you have enough time. I saw in February that I had delayed pursuing my purpose too long and if I didn’t wake up, I would run out of time. I saw my college self being like “You haven’t even tried yet? Ew.”. Sure, my college self was wearing raver pants and platform shoes but dang, girl had some gumption!

My choices were very clear: (1) I could live with severe anxiety and be an empty shell of my former self, or (2) I could fundamentally change my life and be reborn. I decided immediately to fight, to kick out the shitty houseguest and bleach the mold. College me was like “Yo yo, she back!” and I totally felt like wearing raver pants again.

There is no universal prescription to eradicate anxiety which makes it such a lonely experience. For me, my antidote is pretty sweet because I am required to do the things that make me feel alive. So, I do those things. My antidote also requires I recognize that if my mind could create the crappiest thing in all the land like panic attacks, it can also create the opposite. So, I focus there.

Saw this unfortunate tree hiking and was like: “That’s me!” The perfect reminder that sometimes change isn’t gentle. Sometimes it involves ripping wide open to see what’s really inside.

Anxiety still tries to take the wheel to steer me to darkness. It’s like it’s alive and like all forms of life, it has an insatiable need to continue living. It feeds off fear and negative energy, so anxiety no likey my fluffy hope and gratitude. Yes, I still have aftershocks and probably always will, but I know how to smother them with sunshine and rainbows. I also know that bad things aren’t always bad and sometimes they’re gifts. February and anxiety were my gifts.

For those who suffer from panic attacks or anxiety, I see you. I didn’t see you before but I see you now. And because of February, I finally saw me. I will always have a scar from this year, but it isn’t ugly and I won’t hide it. I am more than ok, I am awake. I am done with delay and shitty houseguests, but definitely not done with raver pants.

THINGS THEY FORGOT TO MENTION:

Sometimes you need a wake-up call. While some wake-up calls are soft hands gently nudging you awake, others are violent, rude face slaps that leave you gasping for mercy. If you get one of those, you’re lucky but only if you choose to be.

7 Comments
  • Ashley
    October 30, 2019

    Thank you. ❤️

    • Sunna
      November 14, 2019

      I failed to respond to my comments, whoops! You’re welcome. Thank you for reading! <3

  • Jessica Brown
    October 30, 2019

    I see you. And thank you for seeing me. To February! To raver pants! ❤️

    • Sunna
      November 14, 2019

      Forgot to respond to comments. I see you, Miss Brown. Twinsies por vida. Love you.

  • Beth
    October 31, 2019

    ♥️♥️🤟🏻

  • Jill
    November 6, 2019

    Beautiful, scary, insightful! What a gift you have!

    • Sunna
      November 14, 2019

      Forgot to respond to comments. Thank you, Jill. Intense year to say the least. I think I hid it too well for some people…

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