Well naturally I have over thought the first sentence to this story more than I should have, so anxiety is obviously still my friend!
It’s so surreal to be writing a story about how I have learned to love my anxiety, it’s apart of who I am now (as it always has been). That’s were ill begin.
I remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday. I sat down on the side of my bed and was about to turn and lay down and I thought to myself I can’t catch my breath. Oh boy it was all down hill from there! I was convinced I was having a heart attack. I ran into the ER and basically explained that the need to get me back before I die right then and there. that was about 7 years ago (cliff-hanger) I didn’t die……
Needless to say, I learned at the hospital that anxiety is a thing and the magic pill they gave me didn’t help and I was certain there was something majorly wrong. I went through about every sensation, fear, hope, up, down, and thoughts you can’t imagine.
I remember walking outside once and feeling claustrophobic, that I was in so much open space. I was not able to eat because swallowing meant that I would suffocate. I could hardly stand the idea of being more than a short drive from the hospital and so many other overwhelming fears.
I would lay in bed and think I’m the only one in the world that is suffering this way and not a single person could possibly understand my struggle just to wake up every morning. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
That all took place over about a 4-year period and countless hours of google searching for the magic pill/answer is to what was wrong with me. I don’t want to say to much about this, but I believe in a higher power and in the blessing of prayer. One night while I was desperately praying for direction on how to find some hope or relief with anxiety, and as clear as day the thought came to me, don’t search how to overcome anxiety, search how to live with anxiety.
That was the night/moment I found Barry and Panic Away. I wish I could say at that moment it all changed and panic/anxiety was no more, but thankfully it wasn’t.
I would write in my personal panic away journal about once a week and tell myself all kinds of things. Like one day I will look back and laugh and one day, I will meet Barry and Suzane in person and thank them with a hug and a face to face thank you! I still will………. If you let me. I promise I’m not weird. Ok maybe a little but my wife will keep me in check.
I read the first chapter and couldn’t believe I wasn’t the only person in the world that dealt with/experienced anxiety this way. The idea that I wasn’t the only person that suffered from this trap immediately brought relief, but I was along way from free.
Truly I felt trapped, anxiety made me feel like I would never be free of my own thoughts and fears.
I mean really who’s scared of an elevator or suffocating for no reason! Yep those are the what if’s creeping in. Of course, you know in your mind your fears don’t make sense. And just weeks ago you felt totally fine so what is wrong with me now?!?!
So, there I was just going through the motions, trying to figure out what to do to feel better. Meeting with a counselor, reading panic away, asking my doctor for help and some days just wanting to hide from the world.
Ok enough about all my anxiety issues! All that needs to be said is anxiety sucks and it was ruining my life.
BOOM…… just like that it was all over. The end!
Panic away was an amazing tool and program and in so many ways very much like DARE. But for me it had two major flaws. I couldn’t find a book anywhere, I could only read it from a laptop and of course I felt a little disconnected by many miles from me and the other panic away peeps.
I don’t remember how I was informed of DARE, but I was already in love with panic away, so I immediately wanted DARE. I also had one other issue, if I sat down and tried to read I would either fall asleep or my thoughts would consume me. DARE HAS AN AUDIBLE COPY (book on tape). And so, it began, I finally got past chapter one.
I couldn’t put it down I listened to DARE moment I was near a radio. But there was something different this time, it was me. I was beginning to believe that I loved my anxiety. Yep I said it LOVED my anxiety. I began to realize that anxiety is part of what made me, me!
I couldn’t believe it. I was beginning to understand how to live, even love anxiety. I remember when I began to change my thoughts of what ifs to, what if something good happens.
One of my biggest aha moment’s is when I heard Barry say, anxiety is just an emotion! That was a turning point for me. I still to this day I tell myself anxiety is just as much a blessing as happy is. What if I’m too happy!? What if I go on vacation and I’m too happy, what if I have too much fun?
Was it all sunshine and rainbows? Absolutely not. I had setbacks for years. I remember I finally was ready to get back on a plane and fly over the ocean, nonetheless. I was laying on the ground in the LAX airport telling my wife I might need to fly back home and skip the trip of a lifetime (and this from the guy who says anxiety is just an emotion).
So, there I was about to give up and what did I do, I messaged someone special (Suzane) and she help me! And a few helpful hints and I was right back to the basics. I put on my custom-made DARE shirt, got my dare audios, and posted on Facebook to my Dare family I needed help. That was it I made it and I have never looked back.
The Dare group and the moderators and Barry changed my life for the better. I had the trip of a lifetime, but it wasn’t a walk in the park I had to and still have to apply DARE, but the difference is now that in my thinking that I get to apply DARE.
So, what’s the magic to overcoming anxiety? You! Read DARE (or listen) and then read it again and again. It’s not about getting your old self back it’s about becoming a new and better you. If you apply DARE, you will become a new you. It doesn’t matter when it just matters you will, so stay the course!
I’m sorry I’m all over the place, but I hope my story helps someone. I could go on and on but hang in there you’ve got this, you’re worth it, and you’re strong enough!
Thank you all.