This picture is about anxiety.
Stress was always part of my life. It was manageable and I thought it was normal. I saw it as my friend because it helped show me what I cared about and motivated me to get things done. But for two weeks, the stress affected my body and was so intense and uncontrollable that I finally thought, ‘Maybe this isn’t normal.’
There was nothing to be stressed about and my mind wasn’t worried about anything, but my body was freaking out. It felt like the feeling you get before you’re about to do something scary and your body is in high-alert mode. For me, that happens when I’m on a plane during take-off or when I have to do public speaking. My chest feels tight and hot, and my heart races and thumps so much it almost hurts. My body was telling me it felt threatened but there wasn’t anything to be scared about.
I felt sick, nauseous, like I had butterflies in my stomach. My neck and shoulders were tense, and it ended up making my mind worry because I couldn’t control it. No matter how much I tried to tell myself to calm down, it didn’t help.
The butterflies and the tenseness finally led me to see a doctor. I found out I was experiencing a mild panic attack and that I’ve probably struggled with mild anxiety throughout my life. It was a relief to know what was happening and now I could learn how to deal with it.