Little Green Monster


5:00 a.m. It's Monday. A normal Monday. I know I'm in the minority when I say, I actually operate pretty well on Mondays (Tuesdays are the bad days). I wake up, immediately start brainstorming about what I'm going to get done this week, and feel energized by the thought of a fresh start. I grab a Kize Bar and am off to the gym, glowing over productive thoughts and a can-do attitude.

6:30 a.m. Gym, check. Shower, check. Coffee, check check. Today is going great. 

8:00 a.m. Good morning office with a sunrise view! Snap a story for Instagram, feeling #blessed.

9:45 a.m. Emails, done. Most pressing projects, done. Now what...

10:15 a.m. FULL ON PANIC ATTACK. Sweating, blurry vision, heart racing, jitters, extreme nausea, suffocating, heavy, small... I can't think of other words to describe what it feels like.

What changed in just 30 minutes that put me so off balance? What provoked a panic attack? Looking back, I couldn't actually tell you what exactly triggered the incident. I just remember the crippling feeling that I would always be in this moment. After what seemed like eternity, I was able to calm myself down, I didn't want to think about it — the incident  again. I tried successfully to completely erase it from my memory. That is until my sweet husband later asked me a question that forced me to remember. A question that forced me to talk about it. Which led to panic all over again. Which led to journaling. A LOT of journaling. Furiously writing incoherent thoughts and fragmented sentences. And feeling like crap.

I read once that giving feelings a name makes them seem less intimidating. I now know from experience and a great support system that this is the truth. I'm trying to remember that the monster of anxiety has more power in the dark than in the light. Identifying the moment, the feeling, and the scenario puts a spotlight on the situation. While this is painful, scary, and seems insurmountable, it actually helps. I suppose that's what I'm attempting to do right now. It sort of feels like this:

Maybe it's because I'm actually making progress with my anxiety (or maybe it's because I've got a happy hour date tonight). Whatever the motivation, I can't believe this blog post came together. I've been horrified by the idea of making these thoughts public. But in the end, I know we all have issues we are struggling though. We are not alone. We are not in the dark. This quote from Brené Brown sums it up pretty well (below), as does the perspective from Levo Community (also below), both of which just so happened to land in my in-box this afternoon. I would say that is a coincidence... if I believed in them. To me this feels like something more. So I'm a work in progress. Who isn't?

Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.
— Brené Brown
I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that speaks to me in my ear and tells me all these things that aren’t true. And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me.
— Emma Stone