So, I’m going to get right into it…
I want to be upfront and open about the fact that I have an anxiety disorder. I probably won’t spend too much time talking about anxiety and the negative aspects of it in this blog. I’ve come a long way since I was initially diagnosed with anxiety at 19 and I now try to view it in a positive light. However, I hope that sharing my story and the ways I’ve learned to manage anxiety help a few others out there.
I view anxiety as something I live with, not something that dictates my life.
While I love all things wellness, I want to be clear with y’all – this blog will not just be pictures of avocado toast and smoothie bowls.
Nothing against anything that’s already out there. I love all of that, don’t get me wrong, but I want this blog to be personal and I want to insert my voice in everything I do here.
The intent of this blog is to share my journey, what I’ve learned, and hopefully, help others (if even in the tiniest way). If I’m not keeping it real, then what’s the point? Embracing vulnerability to the fullest.
When I first discovered I had anxiety, it knocked the metaphorical wind out of me. I had always considered myself a somewhat anxious person, but I never had any real symptoms and certainly had NEVER experienced anything remotely similar to my first panic attack.
It all began when I was 19, my grandparents had gotten in a car accident and my family and I went to see them in the hospital.
They were fine, just a few scratches and bruises. But, of course, seeing two people you care deeply about in this type of situation is never fun. I walked out of the hospital after seeing them feeling concerned but mostly relieved that they were okay.
Fast forward 20 minutes – I’m in the backseat of my dad’s car and I begin to feel my entire body covered in “pins and needles,” I can’t feel my face and my hands are clamping up. My dad jumps in the backseat to sit with me as my uncle speeds right back to the hospital ER. I’m pretty sure he even drove over a parking lot median because I was screaming to drive faster.
We go in, and once I’m admitted the nurse tells me that I’ve been hyperventilating and to slow down my breathing (oh? I genuinely thought I was dying, but cool, I’ll just “breathe” it off).
She gives me a xanax, after a few hours the doctor comes in and tells me I probably have an anxiety disorder and refers me to a psychiatrist. With that, I’m on my way out.
I have to say – although my panic attack went away with the slowed breathing and xanax, I was not immediately convinced I had anxiety.
I, and my family, wanted to rule out every possibility – I went to a cardiologist, and other specialists to make sure this wasn’t something else. Eventually, I saw a physiatrist and was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder.
Fortunately, I had the BEST primary care doctor who worked with me to not only find the right medications that worked best for me but also help change my lifestyle to tackle my anxiety head on. Thinking back now, I’m so grateful to have had a doctor that didn’t just prescribe medication and call it a day from the very beginning.
We talked about different ways to manage anxiety using therapy, nutrition, exercise, support groups, mindfulness, you name it! He is a huge reason I turned to yoga and meditation as a way to cope with anxiety.
Over the next few years, I saw several therapists and tried different types of medications, and eventually found a balanced routine that worked for me.
So, that brings me to today. What has hands down helped most of all is yoga and meditation. It is not a hobby for me, it is truly a way of life. That, plus healthy eating and living a balanced and mindful life has allowed me to thrive despite my anxiety.
And that is what I’ll be sharing in this blog – tried and true tips for managing anxiety and living a healthy and mindful life!
So, cheers to a new year! I hope you also want to thrive this year and I hope this blog helps you along your journey.