I’d just left my kinesiologist’s office when I decided to call my best friend. I was terrified, but I knew I had to make the call. I didn’t have a choice. It was now or never.
“Pal, there’s something I need to tell you,” I said nervously.
“Omg! Are you pregnant? Are you OK? How’d your kinesiology session go?”
“What?! Definitely not pregnant! I’m OK… the session was great but ummm I need to tell you something and I know I should have told you earlier…”. The lump in my throat was growing, the tears began rolling down my face and I was struggling to get my words out. My best friend was getting worried and assuming the worst so I just blurted it out. I told her my secret.
It took me eight years to get to this moment, to tell someone aside from the healers I was visiting, that I had anxiety. For eight years I didn’t tell my friends, my family or my partner of 11 years. I just couldn’t.
In the beginning I downplayed my anxiety. I told myself it wasn’t that bad. My plan was to “fix” it on my own. No-one needed to know about it. It would only be a matter of time and I’d be back to my normal anxiety-free self. As soon as I’d visit that hypnotherapist, read that book or do that online course – I’d be fixed. I wouldn’t have to worry anymore…
Only that never happened. The more I hid my anxiety, the worse it became. Overtime I developed a fear of public speaking. I began fearing going to the supermarket, the weekly meetings at work, catching up with friends, driving... Before long I found myself anxious almost every day. For a while I even forgot that sick feeling in my stomach, the crazy rapid beating heart and the headaches weren’t actually normal. Can you imagine going through this everyday and covering it up and not telling a soul?
The longer I lived with anxiety, the harder the small things got. I’m talking about the little things you often take for granted like being able to have brunch with a good friend, feeling relaxed at family functions, telling your workmates what you got up to on the weekend and saying hello to the cashier at the supermarket.
Last year I decided something had to change. I couldn’t keep living my life feeling afraid and anxious all the time. I realised I wasn’t moving. I wasn’t going anywhere. It was like groundhog day everyday. In what felt like a last ditch attempt to heal myself, I decided to see a kinesiologist. Within minutes of stepping into her office I was reduced to tears. Almost immediately I was hit with some hard truths, and these truths were coming from a woman who had struggled with anxiety and beat it. Firstly, I needed to own my anxiety. I needed to see it for the gift that it was and I needed to stop feeling ashamed and embarrassed of my anxiety. And secondly, and just as importantly I needed to come out of hiding. I needed to come clean and tell my family and friends.
The night I told my best friend and fiancé about my secret battle with anxiety was easily the most terrifying and fucking amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life. I felt exposed and vulnerable and was ugly crying like no-one’s business, but for the first time in my life, I wasn’t hiding. I wasn’t pretending I was OK or trying to be someone else. For the first time in my life I fully accepted my anxiety.
The morning after I felt like a different person. Life felt lighter and brighter. I couldn’t believe I’d waited so long to tell them; that I’d waited this long to feel free. I couldn’t believe that for eight years I battled on in silence. I decided I didn’t want anyone else to suffer like I did. I didn’t want anyone else to feel ashamed or embarrassed of who they were or how they were feeling.
Admitting out loud that I had anxiety gave me the courage to admit something else…I wanted to help others with the same struggles. As much as my dream scared me, I knew it was what I wanted to do and in many ways I felt I owed it to myself to at least try.
So I began studying and dove head first into learning and becoming the best version of myself. I enrolled and graduated from a holistic health-coaching program with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I started my own blog, created an Instagram account, joined Toastmasters and took myself to fun and interesting workshops. I learnt everything from the best yoga poses for anxiety to how to balance my chakras to how to write from the heart. I started doing the work, really upped my self-care and did my best to get out of my safe, but limiting comfort zone.
In the past year alone my anxiety has decreased significantly and I attribute this to not only the positive lifestyle changes I’ve made, but also finally owning my anxiety and accepting who I am. Because if I didn’t have the courage to do that, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post right now and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today.
So when you decide enough is enough, or get a niggling in your gut that something needs to change, listen. Listen to your heart and trust your intuition. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit your job and move to a new country…like me, you might start with small, positive steps in the right direction. You might book an appointment with a healer, do a two-week trial at a local yoga studio or buy a book that keeps popping up on your radar. Change might be scary, but it’s not nearly as scary as doing nothing at all. Who knows what’s waiting for you on the other side?