From Panicked to Peaceful

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Panic.

The alarm goes off, but I'm already awake. Gasping for air.

The alarm goes off, but I'm already awake. Heavy breathing. Constriction in my heart. Gasping for breath, wondering when it will end. Will this be the last one? The walls close in. Crushing pain & anguish. This feeling of heaviness, despair. This life isn't worth living if this is what living is. 

As the panic subsides, my body still reveling from adrenaline, I peel myself out of bed. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Empty. My fiance looking at me as though he is going through it himself. I can see the helplessness in his eyes - it's mirrored in my own feeling of helplessness over my own body. 

I head to the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror. Puffy eyed, a shadow of my former self. Who is this girl looking back at me?? The once gleaming, blue eyed optimist that believed anything was possible was looking more like a ghost. Doing anything and everything to get through the day.  And a part of her not even caring if she did anymore. 

I open the medicine cabinet and reach for the bottle. Anger swells inside of me that this is what my life has become. I pop the pill into my mouth, knowing the side effects are only a matter of minutes away. Slurred speech, memory loss, numbness in my limbs. The new normal. 

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The New Normal

There is an incredible strength that resides within people who suffer from chronic anxiety, but we are often too fearful to truly see it until it's in hindsight. Our bodies and brains work overtime just to make it through the day. Sifting through real and perceived fears. Trying to keep pace with our own obsessive thinking. Attempting at every corner not to slip down the rabbit hole of worst case scenarios. 

I know this life all too well, because it consumed me for years. Despite my own training as a social worker, yogi and reiki practitioner - I felt helpless. I decided it was time for me to turn the reigns over and surrender my healing to these practices and mentors. Healing from anxiety is a team effort. So if you are looking for a teammate on this journey to heal - I am here for you. 

If you are ready to dive into your emotional well being and clear out the gunk that's weighing your down, let's talk. You don't have to muscle through alone. True strength lies in accepting help from others. Let's partner together for your healing. 

New Body..who dis??

Recently, I was chatting with a new friend about health, fitness and body positivity. Another day at the office, amirite?? We exchanged cringe worthy tales about the things we begrudgingly did in the past to try to drop weight or feel better about ourselves. 

We ended up talking about is what happens when you reach your goals and lose that weight you've been wanting to loose or drop those last few sizes. All of a sudden you're a stranger to your own body. This is something that's not talked about enough. 

It's assumed that when you drop the 10lbs or get to the size 4 or whatever it is that is your goal, you're *supposed* to be happy, pat yourself on the back and move on with your life. That's not always the case though. Anyone who has been through a drastic weight loss or transformation knows what it's like to be a stranger to their own body - but why don't more people talk about this?

Part of this, I think, is that expectation that you met your goal - so be happy and get over it. I think another component is that if you're not working on your internal fitness, reaching your external goals seems empty. Having abs or fitting in to those jeans you haven't worn since your glory days is all well and good - but it doesn't get to the root of your unhappiness - especially (if you're like me) and struggled with emotional eating. 

Recovering from my binge eating disorder was a long and arduous process. I attempted to do so alone and in shame for longer than I'd like to admit. Even when I lost the weight I had gained, something was missing. I still felt deeply unhappy with myself, even though the outside package was what I "wanted." So what happened?? I ended up gaining the weight back and continuing to wallow around in unhappiness.

Ok - this does have a happy ending! What changed? When I sought support and started working my emotional fitness as much as my physical fitness. The synergy of doing this has made me more connected to myself, my purpose and my true mission along with the bells and whistles of having a toned and fit body. Not just that - I have surrounded myself with a community of amazing women and men who are likeminded. So the moral of the story is that you don't have to do it alone and you don't have to live in a strangers home - when you should feel peacefully at home in your God Pod. We only get one, so let's treat it right. 

Gratitude for Darkness

Depression is a mother f***er. A sneaky ninja. A parasite of pleasure. It weasels in when you least expect it and grows beyond belief. If you've never experienced it - be thankful. If you have experienced it - be thankful. Depression, significant, soul crushing depression profoundly changes you. 

There was a time in my life where I was in a hole. No light. No hope. I coped by never leaving my house. Withdrawing into myself. People, nature, school, work, everything was too much to bear. Inflicting physical pain on myself was the norm. Just to see if I could feel anything but sadness.

So many people have similar stories. Overwhelmed with anxiety. Drowning in depression. I came out of my depression because I worked on it. Therapy. Connection. Sunshine. I'm still a work in progress. (shit, who isn't?) But I wouldn't be who I am today had I not experienced that darkness. I see light more clearly and more gratefully. I tell myself nice things on the reg (hell yeah I'm a fuckin rockstar and so are you). I eat good foods. I move my body. I live in love. 

We're all walking miracles. Little bundles of water and energy that conceptualized out of nothingness and into being. Appreciate that shit! We are capable of handling unimaginable trauma and celebrating endless ecstasy. Be thankful for the hard times. You wouldn't be who you are if it weren't for them.  

Have the audacity to believe in yourself

What a powerful thought. Have you ever had a brilliant idea, goal or wish to do something and when you express that goal or desire to a friend or family member they immediately hit you with the "What ifs?" What if you can't afford it? What if you lose? What if you don't get hired? What if it doesn't work out? You can spend your life drowning in what ifs and while that time passes someone else will chase and accomplish the very thing you were wanting. 

This happened to me when I wanted to move to California. There were a handful of people that hit me with their doubts. Aren't you nervous that you don't have a job there yet? You're never going to make that move. Aren't you going to miss everyone? What if you run out of money. How about this - WHAT IF I LOVE IT? WHAT IF I'M SUCCESSFUL? WHAT IF I'M SO UNHAPPY WITH MY CURRENT LIFE THAT I NEED A CHANGE. The truth is, I didn't have a plan when I moved to California from New Jersey. I packed up my car with what could fit, dragged a friend along and took a ride. No job applications in. No fear of the unknown. Just an all out ballsy confidence in myself that I could and would make this life changing decision work for me. 

If I hadn't been so audacious as to believe this dream of mine was going to work out, I probably would still be in NJ. Unhealthy, overweight, extremely unhappy, drinking myself into a blackout during the weekends, attaching myself to relationships that were toxic and distracting me from my true and authentic goals. Yes, I miss my family. Yes, I miss my friends. Yes, there was a time where I survived on PBJ because I was broke and there were moments of crushing loneliness because everything I was comfortable with was thousands of miles away. The night before I drove out of NJ, my (then 7 year old) sister made me sleep in bed with her as she hysterically cried that I was leaving her. It ripped my heart to shreds. But I knew I needed this change, for me, to be a better version of myself. 

I tell this story, because the more I delve into coaching and helping others - I am surprised at how many people listen to the what ifs in their own minds. People who reach out because they want to improve their lives and feel better, but when they are hit with the work it entails or get nervous that they might fail, they begin to listen to the doubtful little jerks that we all know as What ifs. Well think of it this way: What if you succeed. What do you have to gain?