It Happened to Me

It finally happened.  Last night I had an anxiety attack.  It was relatively minor, maybe a 4 out of 10, but it was a real wake-up call.  Although I am a therapist, I deal with all of life’s uncertainties like everyone, sometimes better than others.  I was still surprised, surprised that after all the coping skills I have learned and implemented, all of the coping techniques I have taught, I am still susceptible to my emotional self.  That’s not to say I am cocky enough to believe an emotional challenge won’t happen to me, only that when it does it scares me, overwhelms me, and takes me to a sense of personal failure.  I should be stronger. I should know how to handle this. This is no time for me to be scared. I am a therapist. People are counting on me to be measured and self-assured.  With each of these messages to myself, I felt worse, not better; weaker, not stronger; more frightened, not less.  Then I actually engaged the primary coping skill I teach everyone. I talked about it. I did, and I cried. I ugly cried.  I yelled out “I am scared, and I can’t get out of the what-if’s.  This SUCKS.”  Miracle of miracles, I felt better.  I was able to recognize that I had been trying to busy myself and keep from feeling these things, distract myself from recognizing how this pandemic scare has affected me.  I haven’t been quiet or meditative.  I haven’t been open or still enough to allow my feelings to have a real voice, so they decided to surprise me with an anxiety attack right in the middle of a TV show I was watching in order to avoid such a response.  I feel better today because I am committed to being more honest and still.  I will continue to try to do as I teach and allow that vulnerability and uncertainty to come through me to create ever more empathy, compassion, patience, and light.  To everyone who is currently trying so hard to keep it together all the time — don’t.  Take time to fall apart, it’s the only way to build something new.    -Carrie

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