Your Mind is Speaking – Are You Listening?

**Nothing money related to see here…unless you see following your mind to be a better idea than following your wallet.  In that case, stick around!  Otherwise, if you want to talk money, check out these money posts of like following the KISS rule, Thanking the Money Gods, or Why Beyonce is a Bad Ass.**

 

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It’s Monday!!  I am writing to you in real time because, as I posted last week, I am excited about my “Comment Convo” format and this chance to talk about a post I read today.   It totaly brought me back to my mid 20’s state of mind..and not in the fun, socializing, and making bad decisions kind of way.  It took me back to a scary place that I think many feel (even as we age) but try not to dwell on.  Unfortunately, not dwelling (or listening) to those feelings can cause them to turn into something bigger.  So let’s take a moment to address them and set them free…

I am new to Amanda’s site Dream Beyond Debt.  We are intertwined in the same group of personal finance bloggers and, in the last few weeks, we have begun to build a friendship via twitter.  Today Amanda published a post with an intriguing title – It’s a Gift.  Since other awesome bloggers are writing about frugal ways to save and give during the holidays or no gift Christmases, I truly thought her post would be in similar light hearted relation.  It isn’t.  Amanda has taken this golden opportunity to write about the emotional aspect of the season and the gift of anxiety that comes along with it.  Gift?  Yes, gift.

Anxiety can strike at any time…unfortunately, a season has no boundary for this wicked beast.  That being said, the holidays are often a time of reflection.  A time to spend in big groups pretending to be jolly while cramming mass quantities of food down your pie hole hoping to fill the void.  The weather is worse (for most of the country), the days are short, and the sun is hidden.  The end of the year is approaching as are all of the deadlines and goals you set with full intentions of fulfilling only to realize you are coming up short.  There are 26 more days to the year.  26!!!  Feeling anxious yet??

I won’t get too deep into Amanda’s post as I think you should read it in whole…HERE…seriously, aren’t you intrigued by how anyone can believe anxiety could be a gift??  Weird…  But I will say that my comment to her only scratched the surface of what I was thinking.  I initially wrote it all out in her little comments box but swiftly took it back and posted a more (much more) refined version:

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Here is what I really wrote but didn’t post:

I, too, suffered from a bout of anxiety when I was in my early 20’s. I felt the world around me closing in which led to weird physical troubles like a bout of nausea that lasted over 2 months eventually causing my BF and I to pack up and move back home to Chicago. But that change wasn’t enough. Apparently, location wasn’t the issue.  Back in my hometown, the nausea took another 2 months to subside (the only thing I could stomach was chewing extra bubble gum) before it turned into something worse – panic attacks…

The first time it happened we were dog sitting for my Aunt. Everything was normal when I went to sleep but a few hours later I shot up out of bed drenched in sweat with my heart racing. It was the middle of winter and freezing outside but that didn’t stop me from running barefoot down the stairs and out the door while yelling back to my BF to call an ambulance…I sincerely thought I was having a heart attack. It happened a few more times before I realized the problem at it’s core. I wasn’t happy. My relationship was failing, I had no friends, and I hated my job. Because I didn’t listen to my mind, my mind told my body to shut down. And my body listened.

After the last attack, when my BF was bothered by the fact I was waking him at 3am to make sure I didn’t die (serious thoughts of a panic attack), I decided to make a change. I quit my job, quit my BF, and I moved to a new apartment. A few months later I accepted a new job as a Flight Attendant. It’s been 15 years and there have been WAAAAYYYY worse ups and downs than the ones I was suffering back then, but in that time, I have taught myself to listen to my mind.  I take deep breaths and let the anxiety wash over me.  I give it the space it needs and then I let it go.

The mind is a curious thing. It knows YOU better than yourself. It also knows how to manipulate your body. It is the first defense to all of your ailments. To heal your body you often must heal your mind first. When I don’t listen to my mind, my body speaks up…first with a whisper, then with a roar. So, Amanda, you are right. The anxiety, the panic attacks, the shitty feeling of failure or unfulfilled desires…it was a gift. That period in my life taught me to listen to the whisper before it turns into a roar.

So, how are you feeling at this moment?  Are you ready to turn that frown anxiety upside down?  With experiences like Amanda’s and mine you can clearly see that others are feeling the exact same thing as you or as many others.  And it’s funny, it took me 15 years to speak about this moment in my life.  15 years to realize how I turned my own anxiety into a gift.  And all it took was one blog post from a new friend to get me to see it all for the better.

What are you sharing with your friends, families, or readers today?  How long did it take you to open up? 

Until next time…

PS – This post was published with the permission of Amanda to use her post as bait for mine.  Thanks, Amanda!!  🙂

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17 thoughts on “Your Mind is Speaking – Are You Listening?

  1. Wow, that anxiety attack sounds terrifying! I’m glad that it spurred you to try new paths, but I’m also glad that you haven’t experienced it again since then.

    I think that anxiety can be a powerful motivator for some, but I’d much rather be in touch with my feelings before they get to the anxiety phase, when they’re still just slight doubts or questions. That feeling of not being completely satisfied with your life can propel you to do some amazing things.

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    1. Yes! Exactly, Ellie. I think when you find yourself in that situation and can identify it you can nip it in the bud much faster than if you let it go and it grows. It took me a while to find what worked for me. Starting slow by breathing, realizing my physical issue was a symptom of the mental, and if it started to grow simply counting ceiling tiles helped distract from the build up of emotion. Anxiety isn’t a feeling I have much anymore – or maybe I have just learned to cope with it so it doesn’t affect me as much. 🙂

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  2. Those panic attacks sound pretty brutal. I’m glad you found a way to deal with them so that they aren’t a pervasive part of your life now. 🙂

    Being “forced” into therapy deal with my dad’s death brought out the stark truth that dealing with his loss was the least of my problems. I wasn’t confronting a lot of stuff from my childhood and life in general and stuffing it into a box and putting it away only works for so long. Eventually, you run out of space to put stuff and then the boxes get ripped open and yeah, it’s kind of like your panic attacks and anxiety all rolled into one stressed out event.

    With time, I was able to “go thru the boxes” and deal with them one by one. It took years, because there was SO much stuff I left myself to deal with. It’s amazing how doing that and identifying the sources of my underlying anxiety gave me power over them.

    Things are a lot better today and I don’t get as anxious. I also don’t “stuff” things anymore and instead just deal with them. I find that you can deal with things now, or you can deal with them later, but you can’t ever escape dealing with them. Finding the best way to deal with them for yourself is key.

    Learning my way to deal with stuff was probably the best thing to come from my dad’s death. I don’t think I would have gone thru the hell of therapy for that long without a large catalyst like that, so for that I’m grateful.

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    1. I’m so glad you added your story. In fact, I was thinking about you today as I was writing this – specifically the once in a lifetime strangers embrace that we chatted about. I came to thinking that those huggers must have seen in us what they had already experienced. They passed the hug to us so we can be on the look out for someone else to pass it to. That’s my take, anyway. 😊

      “You can deal with things now, or you can deal with them later, but you can’t ever escape dealing with them.” So true!! The sooner parole realize that the better. Mental health is so important to overall happiness.

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      1. Definitely keeping on the lookout to pass the hug along. I think in my case it was the fact I was crying in public and didn’t try to hide it, like I’d just accepted, yep, this is happening, lol. Funny, not funny. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. ChooseBetterLife

    Our bodies can only put up with so much for so long, then they make sure we hear them loud and clear. These anxiety attacks sound awful, though I’m glad they did get your attention and you were able to make positive changes.
    All too often the problems increase little by little and we don’t notice. Sometimes it takes something major to shake us up so we pick up the pieces and reassemble them differently.
    Hugs to you.

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    1. Awww – thank you. I’m sure you see your fair share of anxiety/depression based illnesses in your line of work! It is funny how long we can ignore the warning signs before the body takes over. You never appreciate your health more than when something is wrong with it! I am grateful that this was a brief period in my life and is a long time past.

      Thanks for popping over to comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like that we can all talk more openly about anxiety and depression online-it seems like in real life, we all have to put on the facade that we are all “OK” or “everything’s “great!”. Well, we’re not all OK and sometimes everything isn’t great. And it’s important that we let people know they’re not alone.

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    1. Yes! “I’m fine” is a biggie. And most of the time I AM fine. I am happy to be healthy and my family is healthy. I often think a lot of depression (not all) comes from a lack of perspective. Things are never as bad as you think they are – you just need a new perspective. My BF kids like to say “it’s not fair”. They have no idea what fair is because they have never needed for anything. Yes, they don’t get everything that they want or their friends have, but they have never been cold, hungry, or sick. Perspective is everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. TheRetirementManifesto

    Miss Mazuma! Great post, love the transparency. Very real. I think learning to “hear” your mind is a major transition that happens in maturity. It’s interesting that you had the anxiety attack in your 20’s. Proud of you for “listening”, and changing your life as a result. It’s a real sign of maturity to be able to write about it publically. Good for you!

    Hope you experience some joy over the holidays (and anxiety, it is a gift after all! Wow, that sounds wierd.)

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    1. That is one gift I am happy not to wrap this year! I have no anxieties about this time of year except when will it snow and get me stranded in some strange city? Besides that, all is well!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment… twice. 😉

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  6. I’ve read about horrible anxiety/panic attacks and have recently experienced minor anxiety where it’s tough to calm down and I’m struggling with the mind/body connection. Clearly, I need to listen, but it’s hard to stop just saying “GO AWAY” and try to figure out the problem. Still have work to do…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Maggie! It is really hard to train your body not to listen to your mind because the mind is more dominant. But in time you will learn your own way in dealing with it. The main thing is to remain calm and know that it is a symptom of something else. Figure out your triggers and find ways to alleviate them. Feel free to reach out at any time!! Hugs to you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I always liked what Oprah said..to paraphrase…”first the universe (god-or whatever you call it) sends you a whisper, but if you ignore it, it will get louder and louder.” I think many times we choose to blow off that whisper, and then that can lead to many different symptoms in our bodies. As far as sharing, I’m having a hard time with that right now. Because I was pretty much hired at my current job because of my blog (and video skills), people know about it obviously. I’m feeling more and more vulnerable and exposed, even though sometimes I don’t give a crap and feel I can write what I want. But it’s a weird line to walk and I wonder if I would feel better starting a new blog and people a little more free with my words…

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    1. I can see how that would be a problem! I have noticed you dropped off a bit in recent months an that’s is totally understandable. Perhaps a new blog and anonymous name would give you a cozy new venting space for the real Tonya to shine! Funny how we have to be anonymous to be the real us/// Anywho, the FIRE community will spread word so you don’t have to and that way your company will never know it’s you! 🙂 Super secret blogger!! Start thinking of a name, girl…that’s always been the hardest part for me!

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  8. I used to get anxiety attacks in my 20s too. I would describe them as feeling as if someone wearing heavy steel tipped boots was stepping on my chest. It was bad enough for anti-anxiety meds. I still get the prescription filled today but mostly as backup for when I travel and can’t sleep. I have a theory that for over-thinkers, creative types, and ultra sensitive people, the period in your 20s can be the worst. You’re a young adult but maybe not quite used to adulthood yet. You still may give way too much of a sh*t about what other people think of you. You may be a little unsure of your choices and need a little time to settle into the latest version of “you”. As I got into my 30s, the attacks were much less frequent and less severe.

    Thanks for talking about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your theory may be right! Over thinkers also have issues with sleep and that can do a whole lot of damage to your body and mind. I am so thankful to be out of my 20’s…something about the wisdom of experience that lets you know that all the shit you are trying to control is completely out of your control! The sooner you realize that the better. I am, for the most part, more “go with the flow” now. I still have to make things happen (that goes along with being a financial single) but I don’t worry about the things I can’t change. Such a weight off!

      Thanks for stopping by to tell your story, Mrs. G! Always appreciated. 🙂

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