If you’ve been reading my content or listening to me for long, you’ll know that I’m pretty open about things and I share. I do this because sharing is a big part of connecting with others, building relationships, and creating meaning. Connecting with people helps us to find happiness.
In the spirit of openness, finding happiness, and connection, I’m sharing this message. Maybe some of you will recognize your own struggles here; maybe you’ll feel comforted by the knowledge that you’re not the only one – if you recognize in yourself anything that I share in this post.
I’m not hiding this part of me anymore
I suffer from panic disorder.
From age 16 to age 42, I hid my struggles because of how ashamed I felt. No one even knew I had this issue until I began to talk about it.
The shame, embarrassment, and what felt like weakness were heavy, dark, and hard. And I worked secretly to hide what felt like inadequacies to everyone.
At times in my life, I haven’t been able to do the simplest of things:
- Drive my car five minutes away from home.
- Drive or even walk to Walmart.
- Stay at home by myself, walk to my mailbox, the list goes on and on.
My symptoms of panic disorder are that within 1/14 of a second (yes, that’s the research), I start to feel disoriented, shaky, nervous, terror, faintness, and feeling of unreality. I don’t understand my surroundings. I feel like I might pass out, lose my mind, become completely debilitated. And it comes out of nowhere.
It’s awful, and at times it consumes me. I feel like I will die or go crazy within seconds if I don’t get help.
I think it’s time to quit hiding our real selves and own all the parts of ourselves. We are not crazy, weak, broken, or inadequate.
I am a nationally- recognized motivational speaker and happiness coach. I own two businesses and fly all around the country helping others. I’m a badass at times, but I also have struggles, challenges, and things I continue to work to overcome.
Panic disorder affects many Americans: if this is you, you’re not alone
The Cleveland Clinic says that up to 11% of people in America experience a panic attack at some point in their lives. A small group of those, 2-3% develop a panic disorder. And not everyone is comfortable sharing that information or their experiences with others. But that doesn’t mean those people are alone.
We all have struggles and vulnerabilities, and that’s ok.
I’m thinking of forming a support group of people who especially suffer from panic disorder. (FYI- not anxiety disorders-those are different, and you need your own group).
This way, we begin to understand what we are going through and that we will be ok. We can own that we have a struggle or vulnerability, and perhaps we can begin to better understand ourselves and continue on our journeys of healing.
Anyone else feeling courageous enough to admit and explain your panic disorder?
Whether you respond to this, or finally tell someone else in your life, or you’re not yet ready to explain your panic, know that you’re not alone. I see you.