From Big Panic to a Bigger Life

By Kim Strobel

March 12, 2020

You see this spot right here in this picture? This is the very back wall of the Tell City Walmart. Last week I made myself go back and touch it.


Because 25 years ago I was in the midst of darkness. I struggled with panic disorder and didn’t know if I’d ever be able to have a great life.

Because it was terrifying for me to do the simplest of things like to walk to my mailbox, drive 5 min to Walmart, go into Walmart, or even stay at home by myself.  To be honest, it was really hard to even just breathe and live in my world.

When I look back I know I suffered from some type of anxiety disorder my whole life. As a child I had a plan for if and when someone broke into our home and tried to kill my family. 

I had scary thoughts about losing my brothers who were outside playing or going to a theme park because someone might snatch them. I worried if my dad wasn’t home by 6:00 on the dot that he had died in a car accident. 

I had OCD tendencies…I genuinely believed things like, “If you don’t touch that wall in that one spot when you walk by something bad will happen.”

At age sixteen, I had what I now know was a panic attack. These attacks grew more frequently and began to take over my every waking thought. I obsessed over them. “Am I feeling funny? Do things look weird? Am I confused? How am I feeling?” 

By the time I was eighteen I was having panic attacks regularly without really knowing what they were. I dropped out of college because of my panic disorder. 

My anxiety and panic continued to worsen. It got to the point where almost every minute of every day felt like a nightmare. “Am I crazy? Am I losing my mind? What is wrong with me? Am I going to end up in a psychiatric hospital?”  My life felt like pure hell. 

Finally, five years later, I went to my doctor, told him what was going on and he told me what it was. I explained that it’s called panic disorder and he put me on Zoloft and recommended I see a therapist.

This changed my life. 

In therapy, I had to do all kinds of stuff to retrain my brain and re-learn that I’m safe. One of those crazy things she had me do was drive to Walmart (which felt like a crazy thing to do in itself), walk inside (are you kiddin’ me?), walk to the back of the store and touch the wall. Then I could leave. 

I thought I would die….if she gave me the choice between doing this or chopping both arms off, I would have said, “Take the arms!” But I did it.

On top of it all, I started my entire journey of having to work really hard on everything in my life. I had no confidence. I felt flawed and inadequate. I felt weak and ashamed. 

Even despite my feelings, I dove straight into the self help and personal development field. I worked my ass off. I did hard things. I got coached. I read everything I could get my hands on. And slowly, but surely I changed the inside of myself, which then started to re-arrange the outside of myself. 

I went back to college and ended up getting my Bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and my educational leadership degree. I went from making $8.00 an hour and wondering how I was going to support my son to stepping on a stage and making $8000.00 an hour.

I went from a shrinking violet to being a badass powerful woman who sometimes still struggles. My life is big and wonderful a lot of the time. It’s also hard at times and still a struggle. It can even be a bit of a shit show, to be honest with you. 

So why am I telling you this? Why did I feel compelled to go to Walmart and touch the back wall a couple of weeks ago?

Because even though I still have struggles and challenges as every human being does, I am different.

I am a very different person than that girl who didn’t believe in herself all those years ago. I no longer let what others think of me dominate my mind. I know and understand my authentic power and I stand proudly in it. I accept that I have vulnerabilities and pieces of me that will always need work. 

That’s why I touched that spot again. I wanted to remind myself of just how far I’ve come. How different I am. How I have changed and emerged and done the darn hard work on myself. 

And as I stood there touching that spot on the wall in that Walmart, I told myself, “Isn’t it interesting that I now teach women how to own their own authentic power, how to unleash their own bigness one daring day at a time?” Now I teach women exactly how to unleash their own bigness one daring day at a time.

So if you think you might be ready to change your own world, join my free Facebook group and have a listen to my podcast

I promise you will emerge a very different person.

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