Some of the things on this list I could avoid, but others I just had to step up and face in my day to day life – what choice did I really have? It was either dig deep and find a solution other than running away or avoiding these events, people or places, or live the rest of my life like a mouse looking for his tiny hole to run into at every opportunity. Most of the time that hole was sitting on a bed next to a common acquaintance – my doctor – at the emergency room. Let’s get to the list:
- My boss at my old job – Boy was my mind ever quick to let my body know it was time to either run or fight when he came around. All that suffering and I only had ONE raise in 7 years…yeesh what a waste of worrying!
- My morning drive to work – My common thoughts were, “I swear if someone looks at me through the windshield one more time I’m gonna lose it!”
- Flying on an airplane – One day while watching TV before my 6 years of GAD struck, I remember watching a documentary about how the entire top of a plane came off and sent everyone on board flying through the clouds, so before boarding a plane I always made sure everything was bolted tight and even than I didn’t trust those things. Thank god for those mini gin bottles, at least they kept those horrid sensations at bay for a while…
- My old neighbors – Have you ever pretended you were looking away or occupied with something else while trying to avoid someone? I prayed I didn’t get another invite to dinner that would lead to 6 hyperventilating visits to my neighbors bathroom, but I would always get caught and couldn’t say no to a nice couple in their 80’s.
- The shopping mall – When my fiancée would say we’re going to the mall, I would literally want to ask if I could bring my paper bag with me just in case my ‘living in a bubble’ feeling came about, and I started to gasp for air. I still don’t know what she saw in me, must have been the tennis skills.
- The tennis court – I made a living playing and teaching tennis, but as soon as I stepped on a tennis court, each and every time there was a feeling of what might be. If I was in a match I could barely keep half the water in my cup because my hands would be shaking too much. If I saw a group of 6 year olds I had to teach, I literally had to step back into my car and give myself a pep talk while those poor kids waited so patiently day after day.
- A nightclub – Pick up chicks my friends said? More like pick up my phone and get the emergency on speed dial, no dancing here…
- Church – Have you ever gotten to the point of rock bottom? That Generalized Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks got to be so much, that one day you decided to seek for yourself the only FREE option left? Hello God? It didn’t last long though, the services were much too long and the exit doors were always way too far away.
- Video games – Oh my beloved Xbox, how badly I wanted to play a game here and there but the sheer intensity I would put into trying to level up, or score a goal on Fifa would just be the door to my terror filled evening just minutes after turning the console off. This might have been the only time my fiancée didn’t mind me having a raging panic attack.
- Alcohol – The #1 thing that would be the cause of my panic attacks time and time again either during the night or the next day or weeks after…alcohol was the big winner, and sometimes all it took was a sip or two to send me into a spiral of fearful thoughts and eventually the overwhelming physical sensations that went with it.
Now I don’t recommend this, but when I was on a roll trying to step out of my comfort zone which was my home and towards the things I feared, I actually would drink a few beers some nights just so I could work on trying to overcome my fears and the feelings that came with it. Did it work, you ask? Actually it did! A little inspiration and a whole lot of being fed up of your condition, combined with a solid action plan can make all your dreams and goals come true, take it from me.