Greatest Day of My Life
Early in 2020 I experienced my first panic attack at the age of 34. I had entered into psychotherapy a few months earlier and things seemed to be getting better. I was working out at my local gym, when I began to feel ill. Shortness of breath, blurred vision, and shaky. I stumbled out of the gym, into an urgent care, and eventually took an ambulance ride to the emergency room. Sounds like a pretty bad day, however this was the greatest day of my life.
I naively entered psychotherapy a few months earlier because I was recently married, promoted at work, and bought a new home. All these great things left me excessively stressed and I knew it was time to get help. I began sharing my story in therapy and felt that I was making headway quickly, as I began to see lowered stress levels. This was the therapy honeymoon period. I had been running from who I really was since I was a little kid. Weight struggles, feelings of worthlessness, and low confidence was buried inside of me and covered up by alcohol as I managed my teens and twenties. A now married man with a successful job and plans for my first child, I knew I needed to change. I cut back on alcohol and started therapy. Both these changes allowed the pain from childhood to emerge, culminating in that first panic attack. This lead to weeks of less severe attacks, health anxiety, and bouts of insomnia.
These really dark times forced me to address the feelings I buried inside of me decades earlier. For me, I was able to navigate this time without medication. However, there were times I felt I needed it.
I have now untangled the pain of the past and have begun to love myself. I continue to do therapy and devote time to my recovery, but I have been relatively anxiety free for months and feel better that I ever have. I want people to know that these tough times don't last forever and to make the commitment to addressing your issues because everyone deserves to live a fulfilled life. I have been looking for ways to volunteer in the mental health community, since I've begun to recover. With the pandemic, that hasn't been easy. The ADAA site has so many helpful resources and a large reach. So when I saw the opportunity to share my story, I felt that it was a way to volunteer.
So while most would consider an ambulance ride to the emergency room a bad day, I consider it the greatest day of my life. Anxiety and depression can change your life for the better if you commit to understanding. I hope this provides some level of hope and comfort to those who may be struggling. You deserve to live a fulfilled life.