She said, what if I never meet Mr. Right? What if I can’t get pregnant? What if I’m not enough? What if he cheats? What if I have a panic attack? (Which then becomes fear of having a panic attack). Anxiety attaches itself to everything in its path like a tornado picking up debris.
And she stayed home on the couch. She cried. She rarely went out.
We had the conversation about what’s the worst that can happen? We had the conversation about not discounting the positives. (You take credit for all the bad things; good things are a fluke). We had the conversation about trying new things leads to confidence and mastery, and really, you’re so young; live a little. But still she crouched and cried and was so afraid.
You see as a child she was put down, put up, put aside, never knew what her unreliable, mentally unstable, poor and single parent was going to do next. So of course she thought everything good would be taken away, for sure. And slowly that became her self-fulfilling prophesy.
She panicked before her wedding day.
She missed appointments.
She rarely picked up the phone.
The keys to unlocking her phobias and panic were simple:
1. Learn to relax. I mean really do it. Meditate. Breathe. Stretch. Gratitude.
2. Forgive your parents for they always screw you up – (but generally they can’t help it).
3. Lean into the pain. Embrace it and allow yourself to be gently comforted by loving-kindness from within yourself.
4. Read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. You will learn to be patient with your pain and vulnerability.
5. And finally, watch this TED talk for 20-somethings and seize your life now! It’s yours not to squander!
No outside fix will fix you. Not love, not money, not sex, not drugs. But inside you must still your body and mind and say, I am OK. I am enough. I am not like them. And at my yoga retreat they repeated, “and together we say OM…”
Or, as they chant in the movie, “Dead Poets’ Society” – “Carpe Diem!”