Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Burn it to the Ground

I had a rough morning/afternoon.

My anxiety was bad - the worst attack I've had in about a year. Heart racing and pounding through my chest, restlessness, nausea, feelings of helplessness ... I had to struggle to fight the urge to vomit - that's a path I'm not going down again.

I knew what it was ... for the past five or six years my birthday has always made me anxious. It's not about getting older - not at all. I've never had a problem with the whole age thing. I'm perfectly fine with turning 35 tomorrow.

The anxiety lies elsewhere -- it's all attached to painful memories ... bad experiences that surrounded my birthday in the recent past ...

I understand the powerful consequences of trauma - but I don't want to be that girl who is anxious over various events that happened years ago. Why should I be a prisoner to distant memories - events that are no longer relevant in my life. Sure they happened. Sure they had an impact ... but should they affect me now? Today? Ever? I don't want it to be that way.

I got my stuff together and decided to head to the gym ... on my drive over my heart was racing and I was having second thoughts. Going to the gym in the early evening meant it would be crowded - my friends would be there - I'd have to socialize and I didn't know if I could handle it. It sounds silly, doesn't it ... but if you've had anxiety/panic attacks (and went through a really bad 2-year spell of social anxiety) then you know what I'm talking about.

I had a non-stop internal monologue going during the 2o-minute drive.

You can do this.
Do not be a prisoner to your fear.
You are stronger than that.
What happened in the past is in the past -- no good can come from rehashing those memories.
You define who you are at this moment.

I got to the gym and went upstairs to where my locker is. The room was empty - thank goodness. I had some editing to do so I sat down and worked for a solid 45 minutes ... just trying to focus my concentration on my work ... and keep convincing myself that I had nothing to worry about. Everything was fine.

At 5:45 I took a deep breath and headed up to the spinning studio. It had been a while since I had been to RPM class - but I knew M&D would be there and I was trying to tell myself to look forward to being around my friends versus feeling anxious.

Then the music started ... and I started to feel better.
I pedaled faster.
I increased the intensity.
Sweat was pouring - my heart was racing - but this time in a good way.
Track 3 was exhausting; luckily D chose a great track for recovery -- track 5 and I was ready to go - my legs burning, but my adrenalin soaring ... and track 7 - one of my all time favorites - Burn it to the Ground by Nickelback. YES!!!

"No fear, no doubt. All in, balls out!"

I gave it everything I had. Everything.

Tracks 8 & 9 were cool down and I felt like a new person.

As I showered and got dressed I felt good. I was proud of myself for not letting the anxiety get to such a point where I felt like the most I could do was just lie in bed and hide from the world. This may not seem like a big deal ... but for me it is.

The demons are not gone. There are still issues that need to be dealt with. There is still a lot of anxiety -- but for the first time, when facing an attack as bad as it was earlier today, I stood up to myself and said - No. This is NOT good for you. You CAN get through this ... and I did.


  1. Ayesha, I'm so sorry you've been feeling anxious. I'm well acquainted with anxiety attacks and I know full well how debilitating they can be. I never leave the house without Xanax. Whatever the pain is that's causing this...I hope you find peace. It's not an enjoyable way to 'be'. I'm glad you found some temporary comfort and distraction.

    Happy, happy, happy birthday! I'm so very glad we connected through FMM. You've been a blessing to me at a time when I really needed one.

  2. How awesome! I don't really have anxiety so much as depression like tendoncies but in the future I will not let them stop me because I will remember this post from you where you defeated your anxiety long enough to do great things and feel great about them!

  3. Thanks so much Kim and upinthecosmos :)

    I find the physical part of working out so much easier than the mental part ... but I'm working on it. It's a SLOW process ... but I know it's an important one.

  4. Your description of your anxiety attack reminded me so much of the ones I used to have - I can't tell you how impressed I am with the fact you were able to continue on and make yourself feel better with a good hard workout! (It always took me some medication to get over mine).

    Funny - that Nickelback song is my cell phone ringtone, and features prominently in my running playlists! So good for working out to!


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