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I don’t know what happened, but something just felt off.
As I was driving I was warring with my mind and trying not to freak out. There was what seemed like a crack in my chest and my heart beat faster out of fear; it was getting harder to breathe. By the time I got to where I was going I felt miserable and I was scared. What was wrong with me? What was happening? Should I stay in the car, should I go home, should I get out? I got out of the car, walked a little ways and was completely ready to pass out. I was hot, I was cold, I was sweaty. Dizziness struck and everything going on inside of me amplified. I turned around and went straight back to the car. I sat there for a while trying to get ahold of what was happening to me, hoping it would stop and I would be okay. Things got worse. My arm started tingling and I didn’t know what to do. I decided to start driving back towards home. I had to get out of there- I wasn’t going to let something crazy happen to me in a parking lot with a bunch of strangers around me! As I was driving the tingling got worse and spread to my other arm and both legs.
I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was so scared that something worse was going to happen to me and I had to pull off to the side of the road, it was much safer than driving in such a condition.
Panic attacks. They’re not fun to talk about and they are certainly not fun to think about or experience. I told Eryn over a month ago that I could do a post on panic attacks and I’ve been sitting blank with this post ever since. There were multiple times when I wanted to talk to her and tell her I just could not do the post, but for some reason I never did. I have experienced panic attacks before… I think my own feelings towards those experiences, and the fact that panic attacks are not readily discussed in conversation with those around me, are what left me at such a loss of how to go about this post.
The first time I had a panic attack I had no idea what was going on with me. Even after seeing a doctor to rule anything serious out, I was still left clueless with no answers. Most people are not taught growing up what their first panic attack will be like or that they will even have to possibly go through one someday. They’re just a part of life that can take us by surprise, but they’re not a surprise that has to scar our lives forever! What really helped me move forward from panic attacks was the simple knowledge of knowing what they are and being able to inform myself whenever symptoms started arising. Sometimes accepting things and acknowledging them for what they are can be really difficult. After I learned what it was that I was experiencing, I was not very amused with the idea of accepting it. Besides not being happy with myself, I was worried about what other people might think of me for having panic attacks. Acceptance should not be wavered for fear. There is always healing and a greater sense of self-love in acceptance which has the power to outweigh any fear.
Panic attacks can form in so many different ways; they and their treatments are often diverse from person to person. If you are struggling with panic attacks please know that you are not alone in this. Reach out- there are others out there going through similar things. Your panic attacks are not meant to keep you from living your life. You are going to shine ten thousand times brighter than any amount of weight they bring on you and your life!! Having one or multiple panic attacks does not make you any less of a worthwhile person; they are not a judgment of your character.
If you’re feeling open, feel free to share with us your experiences with panic attacks and any coping mechanisms you have found to be helpful.
Let’s show this SWL Family that we truly are not alone in our struggles!
*I’m adding a link to an article that Eryn found on ways to cope with panic attacks that would be worth a read when you have time! You can view it here
*Also, Xanna and Ashley have both recently done posts on anxiety. Panic attacks often coincide with anxiety, so if you’ve missed their posts you may want to visit them here and here!
POST BY ROSIE HANKE
if you suffer from panic attacks this is not a solution but something has helped me. Seek a doctor if you are unsure of your attacks.
Give yourself grace. Forgive yourself. Set those fears and worries free.
Designed by our one and only Jessi!
The Journey of SWL through a different point of view. Hi folks, my name is Andy and I reached out to Eryn because I’m huge believer in SWL.
Most if not all the posts here are from women, which is awesome, but I’m not a woman. I am however still So Worth Loving! Although it took me a long time to get it through this thick skull of mine. Maybe that was part of my problem. Maybe I thought that in order to be a man, I had to push down and internalize all of my struggles, to not express my humanness. I am someone who pretty much gets along with everyone. This certainly helped during high school. I was what you would call a floater. I floated between clicks. I was on the Varsity football team, and a solid athlete, but I was also in the Games & Recreation club (think D&D and overall geekiness). The problem with this scenario was I never knew who I truly was and at the time I didn’t really care. I always felt on the fringe.
It turns out, most of this stemmed from my earlier childhood. You see I am a victim of sexual abuse. The mind is a wonderful thing. I was actually able to push all memory of what happened to me, deep into my sub-concious, but the lasting effects of what happened manifested itself in my behavior. Very specifically around self-acceptance. Finally, one day the memories let loose and I was confronted by a reality that I didn’t want to admit to. I sank into depression, began drinking and using drugs, until I got to a point in my life where I had to decide whether to live or die. In fact I was extremely close to committing suicide.It was a miracle that I didn’t and that I was saved.
I crawled out of that well of despair, discovered who I was and who I wanted to be. Most importantly I discovered that I was worth something. I was worth loving. Some of you might be wondering how I did this. Well to be honest with you, I’m not entirely sure. In fact, a very dear friend of mine asked me this question "Where do you find the want to live again? " Wow, what a question. I don’t have a particularly good answer, even if there is such a thing, but I will do my best to frame the question through my own lens.
When I was…scratch that…When I am confronted with this question I really struggle with it. Mostly because I’m so focused on the moment. The emotional storm that’s raging inside me, that I can’t see beyond the tears. I can’t seem to remember that there’s something beyond me. I become withdrawn. I become only focused on me, and that’s where the problem starts. If all I know is my own anger and pain how can there be any hope. So what do I do? If I continue to focus on the past, how can I live my life?
Things That I do:
Realize that I’m not alone!! Instead of choosing death, I reached out for help. I realized I couldn’t do this alone. It took an incredible amount of courage to reveal my deepest secret, but it was so worth it.
Write. I keep a journal. I write my thoughts in my private journal. There’s something very freeing about getting all of my thoughts on paper, and releasing some of that tension. It’s like purging the negativity.
Forgive. I gotta say, I choke on that word everytime I say it, but I say it nonetheless. While forgiving others of the pain they caused me is difficult. Sometimes, the most difficult part is to forgive myself.
Trust. Understanding that my past experience doesn’t mean I will continue to have negative experiences. I have to trust myself and in this journey.
One Breath. Living in the present is huge, and exploring the present can sometimes really help me find ways of enjoying my life at the moment.
Keep trucking. I try not to let the past dictate my future, so I keep walking. The past no longer exists, and by reflecting on it, I rob myself of the gifts that the present is offering me.
So, no real answers, just what helps me. Sadly, I know my story isn’t all that unique. There are a lot of men and women who have been abused. I’m hoping that they all understand that it was not their fault and that what happened doesn’t define them. I used to think that I was less of a person because of what happened, but I’m not. I’m more of a man today then I ever was.
Remember to never give up hope. You don’t know what’s around the corner and it could be something spectacular.
A guy’s perspective..
I wonder “…if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s a great puzzle!” – Alice from Alice in Wonderland
I went camping with some new friends of mine in my early 20s. As with most time spent away from city life, there was a lot of quiet time to be had, and a lot of thinking to be done. During one of those times I got to thinking about my apprehension towards my newfound friends. I’m usually not the best around new people; I usually assume that they do not like me, and then end up shutting them out, but during this time of reflection instead of just my usual doubts of how I would never measure up; another voice spoke and I distinctly heard “You are being lied to”. That short simple message made me re-think a lot of my doubts.
I realized that just because I thought a certain way about someone, did not make it the truth. Now, fast-forward a few years, and I am helping my dad with a life coaching class; he asks me some questions, and gets me thinking about my life. After a few minutes he shares this article with me. (http://bit.ly/OAw2dp)
It puts a new spin on my way of thinking. Suddenly I could name the voice of my doubts. Being able to name them allowed me to separate my own thoughts from the stream of negativity. It had not really occurred to me that all of the bad things a few people had said to me could stick with me for so long, and form a collective voice. Also by naming the doubts it gave me power over them. By realizing that I am separate from them I could form my own identity, and not base it on what Clinton had to say. It can still be a constant struggle to stay positive, but it is also a breath of fresh air to learn that all I think is not true.
I couldn’t sleep the other night. Not necessarily in a bad way, I just could not shut my brain off. I thought about who I am, and the type of person that I’d like to be. I thought of where I’ve come from, and where I hope to go.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, of this I am certain. But I’ve also made a lot of really great decisions. My favorite almost mistake that I’ve made was moving to Los Angeles. My whole life, I had always wanted to live in LA. And when my brother made the move 2 years before I did, there was no stopping me. I wanted to do it, too. I wanted to be brave and I wanted to show people that I’m not afraid.
Turns out I was afraid, and I sometimes still am. LA is a really big city. Some of the people I’ve met here are nothing like I’ve ever met before. It was a pretty huge culture shock, for real. My first year in LA I was pretty miserable. I struggled with paralyzing depression. Most days, I didn’t want to leave the house, let alone speak to another human being. I felt completely and utterly alone. The friends that I thought I had turned out not to be anything of the sort, my long term boyfriend and I broke up only a month after arriving in LA. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t know anyone, the streets all looked the same, and the most conversation that I had was with the cashier at 711 when I was buying frozen pizzas. Basically, LA sucked, and I hated almost everything about it.
And then, something happened. Something aligned for me and it was like LA was a whole new place and it was exciting. I realized that my battle was purely internal. Everything that I was afraid of was internal. What other people think of me is none of my business, and why should I determine my self worth based on what others thought of me? I have a lot to offer, I have a lot to say, and I’m passionate.
Have you ever been around a child in the morning? Have you ever seen the excitement on their faces when they wake up and it’s a new day? I don’t know exactly what it is that these kids are always so excited about in the morning, but there is something to be said of that type of excitement. My theory is simple, it’s a new day. And that in itself is exciting.
Everyday is a new day, with new challenges and new opportunities. Every single day is a chance to do something new, to try something different, to meet a new person, to inspire someone around you. I don’t know about you, but the possibilities for a new day excite the heck out of me. And I am just grateful for the chance to be a part of the ride.
I haven’t formally introduced myself, fellow SWL readers! I am Xanna, an eighteen year old Atlanta native. So we can get to know each other before I get started, here’s a few fun facts about me! I am a barista at my favorite local coffee shop. If I could be someone else for a day, I would want to be Laura Marling, Bon Iver (is that weird?), or Charity Rose Thielen. If I had to choose between a beach trip or mountain weekend, my heart belongs to the Blue Ridge Mountains. I write songs in my room. And I found So Worth Loving through mutual Atlanta friends!
Now that you’ve gotten to know a little bit about me, I have something to share that lays heavy on my heart. One word that can make someone cringe:
a n x i e t y.
Anxiety is something that can go from stressing about a deadline, to keeping us up at night and putting a damper on our daily lives. Either way, it is never any fun!
When I was in 9th grade, an adult in my life asked me if I was anxious due to constantly tearing at my clothes, biting my nails, and lack of focus, biting my lip, and never sleeping. She then explained to me that only insecure people ever feel anxious, and it would be looked down upon if I kept showing signs of anxiety disorders. As any ninth grader would feel, I was destroyed. I didn’t know what I was constantly anxious about, or even noticed it before she had pointed it out to me, but it was in my head after our conversation that I was an insecure person and that’s what was causing the signs of uneasiness. Going on through high school, still an anxious teenager, I always felt like something was wrong with me, as most of us did in those lovely teen years. To be honest, sometimes when I catch myself biting my lip or over thinking and worrying about a situation, I still get the feeling that it’s wrong to be feeling how I am - which only makes the anxiety worse.
But here’s the thing, anxiety is not anything to be ashamed of! I am still convinced that everyone gets anxious, nervous, and stressed sometimes. What it comes down to is knowing that being anxious does not immediately make you an insecure person. It makes you human. It does not make you less worthy of love. Because no matter what our emotions are, everyone is worthy of love and loving themselves. So next time you sense someone is anxious or uneasy, let them know you’re there for them! And remind yourself that anxious or not, you are human who can love themselves, and be loved in return - anxious or not!