Hi! Welcome to the Family Support Network’s: The Tranquil Mind! My name is Susan and I’m a working mom of 3 kids. I’ve had a family therapist practice for the last 25 years and between that and raising my kids and my husband, life has been busy!
My first experience with anxiety came just over 20 years ago on a treadmill. Yes, I know you’re raising your eyebrows and wondering “huh???” I was jogging on the treadmill and out of nowhere had a hard time breathing, I mean I just couldn’t catch my breath. This caused me to get nervous and as a result, my face got tingly and this overall feeling of nervousness just engulfed my body. I had never experienced anything like it before. It just came out of nowhere. I couldn’t shake the feeling and my breathing did not return to normal. I felt as though I couldn’t get enough air.
So…I did what anyone else would do who didn’t think they were getting enough oxygen, I took myself to the hospital. My oxygen levels were fine. They ran some tests since this had never happened before and we believed there had to be an actual physical cause, especially since I’m a family therapist. It couldn’t be anything else, right??? Wrong!!! The initial feeling of not being able to catch my breath had triggered an anxiety attack. Why all of a sudden? I had no idea.
I denied it for the longest time. It made me feel weak. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I didn’t tell anyone except my parents. As it turned out, it was a good thing that it had happened and that they had put me through a bunch of tests. I ended up getting diagnosed with a heart condition, asymptomatic at the time, genetic and for the most part benign in nature. But still, a heart condition, with some imposed limitations. I was scared. I didn’t know what to think. And thus, began my road of having health anxiety.
At that particular time of dealing with anxiety, it took me about a year to manage it. I had some ups and downs and relied heavily on my parents for support. Through my psychology background, I knew all of the strategies and techniques that I needed to implement, I just needed to do it. But, I felt like I was in a constant battle with myself and sometimes I was just too exhausted to breathe properly or practice self-talk.
I persevered and eventually got into a good groove. Deep breathing techniques and positive affirmations were a lifesaver for me. Getting back on the treadmill and not looking back was a step in the right direction. I faced my fears, I embraced them and I dealt with them.
Every now and again, life throws me health scares, legitimate ones; whether my own, my kids or a family member’s. And sometimes, my health anxiety gets triggered again. I’m ready for it now! I have my bag of tricks and accept it for what it is; a moment in time that will pass.
Family Support Network’s: The Tranquil Mind was created as a safe place for people to find some common ground and realize that they are not alone. Anxiety can be scary and isolating. Having a supportive community can help get you through it.
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