From Executive Sales to Panic Attacks
Successfully getting off of my medications and becoming completely anxiety free for the past 2 years continues to surprise me. My physician informed me that I had to prepare to accept my diagnosis, which was that must consume antidepressants for the rest of my adult life in order to mitigate my symptoms of anxiety, but through courage and the application of rational thinking, I was able to move beyond the limits of both my medications and my anxiety.
I was a normal guy with decent physical health and a great job, where I very recently secured a position as a Senior Executive in my company and was recently engaged to my beautiful fiancé. She and I had booked a beautiful apartment for ourselves and I was enjoying a truly fun and enjoyable life with all of my friends. Sure, I had some challenges at work with the nitty gritty happening in the office, but what professional doesn’t deal with some day-to-day challenges? During this time and in years past I had always been a strong believer in the reality of destiny, so I had found solace in moving through my life and addressing these challenges as they emerged.
About two years ago I was on my way to work when I began to experience some mild chest pains and began to feel so incredibly dizzy that I was expecting to black-out. However, I managed to regain my sense of balance and wished that the train would slow down so that I could lay down and rest for a while. Some of the passengers on the train noticed my distressed state, and they offered me some water and assistance with settling down. I was completely unaware that this was my first panic attack, so fearing for the worst, I went straight away to see my doctor. He checked my blood pressure and pulse and just told me that I was probably over-thinking and brainstorming too much about something which had caused a sudden drop in my blood-pressure while on the train. He suggested that I take a day to rest my body and mind, and I agreed with his assessment and simply paid his fee and left. However, after 2 days the same panic attack happened again, but this time it was even more intense than the first, and I felt that something was seriously wrong with my physical health. Although I had not made any sudden changes in my lifestyle, diet, or otherwise, and was generally continuing to live normally, I had still been going through these strange experiences that totally baffled me. As a result I logically assumed that there must have been some kind of physical problem that was causing these symptoms. The doctor started treating me with the same diagnosis (thinking too much), which made no sense to me, and the treatment of rest and antidepressants seemed strange. Meanwhile, these panic attacks started becoming more frequent and then began to occur when I was in the office, at home, and in many many other places. The recurring anxiety resulted in a deep fear that the world was a dangerous place, and I stopped going out.
I could no longer work or concentrate anywhere with these symptoms constantly taking me by surprise, so I stayed indoors as dizziness, insomnia, lack of will strength, and other symptoms started to increase, and I felt that I had hit rock bottom. As my condition worsened, my self-esteem dropped, I told my fiancée that she should give me up as I took leave from work in order to try and sort-out my new dilemma.
How I beat the anxiety: On my 25th birthday I remember that my mom gave me a very personal gift - A pendant with 2 photos of my father and me. I remember that she explained, “I love you son. You are the only one left for me to live for, and you always remind me of your dad,” At that moment I broke into tears and recognized that I had a reason to live and find a way to heal myself.
The only tool that I used to overcome my anxiety was through the power of logical thinking. I began to calm myself down and understood that thoughts are challenging to argue or disagree with - They can completely change our perspective on everything, and I came to this conclusion only after seeing my MRI and CT scan results which indicated that my physical health was in A+ condition. Therefore, it was only my mind playing tricks on me, which suggested that my thoughts needed to be controlled. At this stage I began to see that the many dangers of the world and the many potential diseases that I could contract were not in my control, so why should I spend any more of my time worrying about them? I began to whole heartedly accept that I was experiencing a simple form of anxiety that was produced by my mind, and confronted it with strength and confidence. I began thinking about anxiety for only 8 hours a day instead of 12, which gave me a significant improvement in my quality of life, and that helped me to address the first of my basic needs as I now regained my good full-night's sleep.
Next, I began to return to my normal daily chores and accepted advice from a friend that I should begin meditating. That worked wonders for me, and I was able to regain a sense of calm and steadiness in my mind. My next step was addressing the agoraphobia that I had developed during the course of becoming anxious, where going outside was now the next big step for me. I remember the panic that would set-in when I would to step outside for the first time after several days - I was at first scared of meeting people due to the anxious behavior which had become such a powerful force in my life recently, but I continuously reminded myself that my problem was one of thoughts rather than of the body. Each time I stepped farther and farther into the outside world, I pushed my limits, and I recognized that I was actually doing this! My chronic symptoms of dizziness and lack of balance slowly began subsiding, and I was able to re-engage with my fiancé and resume my previous position with my company.
My recovery from this strange spell of anxiety accelerated each day, and I began feeling like an upgraded version of my old self. Since then things have been improving continuously, and they are now even better than before the onset of the panic attacks. I will say that we all need to remember that the more we allow our thoughts to dominate us, the more we may allow symptoms like anxiety to take over. The lesson here is that we should not give up, but we should continuously focus upon the great achievements that we can make every day and the positive aspects of life that give us a reason to wake up each morning.
The author has written this article in the first person in order to bring this true story to life. Original story found in "India" magazine.
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