At a time when the problems were more than I could take, I was under a lot of pressure, imposed by myself. I thought I had to prove myself to others. Prove that I could handle everything at the same time and still stay strong and healthy.
The day came when the body and mind could not take the pressure anymore. After 6 or 7 stressful months, I fainted at work. I fell on the bathroom floor, and to this day have no idea on who found me or what happened next. All I know is that when I woke up in the hospital, I had my sister by my side.
I came home on the same day, after being given some medication and advised to stay in bed for two weeks.
After that incident, I started seeing a psychiatrist and doing psychotherapy – to be more precise, hypnosis sessions. Within a month, I was ready to return to my “normal” life.
Since then, it is a daily fight to overcome my anxiety.
For example, I travel on a weekly basis. My airplane routine is this: pack efficiently at least two days before the flight. Select an odd-numbered window seat (preferably A, but F will do it as well). Preferably on a seven or a three (but not 13) – 11A is my favorite seat, 17A comes in second. I will pick 27A over 25A, even though it’s further back in the plane. I’ll wear my airplane sweater, the same sweater I’ve worn on every flight for the last four to five years and take some anti-anxiety pills. Then I’m ready for takeoff.
Whenever I have to speak English at work, I also struggle big time. What triggers me in this situation is the fear that I’m making a fool of myself or that what I’m saying has no interest at all. I get nervous, sweaty and speechless.
Not all is bad, don’t get me wrong! I’m using these small incidents to grow stronger and healthier.
I consider it a discovery process.
Doing physical exercise, meditation, walking outdoors are good ways to combat anxiety without chemicals. Each person will find their own mechanism to fight anxiety.
Myself, whenever I start feeling anxious I try to relativize the situation. I think “Come on! If others can, I can too! Calm down, everything will be alright.” I still have a long way to go before I can breathe and live without thinking about what others think, about what others feel, without overthinking everything… But I know that slowly I will get there. And I’ll be back to tell you how my journey was.
“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ― Anaïs Nin