Last week I had a panic attack while sitting in my car before yoga. I’d like to say this was the first time that’s happened, but I would be lying. In fact, it’s happened more times than I care to admit.
I’ve been “losing my shit” for as long as I can remember. These panic attacks started happening in high school, and have stayed with me ever since. No amount of modern anxiety medicine or yoga sessions has sent them packing, unfortunately. And that’s okay. I used to get so angry at them, pouting and sulking at the fact that I couldn’t seem to control my emotions enough to “pull it together” or “get a grip.” Now, I welcome them with open arms, because it’s a clear f*cking sign that something’s not aligning correctly with my mind and my body, and that it needs to be sorted out. Now, I see my panic attacks as an energy force that helps rewire my body back to its balanced state.
I realize this is a strange way to look at something as serious as having a panic attack. And I’m not trying to downplay these attacks, at all. Because boy, they can be brutal. But now rather than resisting or reacting to them when they arise, I choose to accept them for what they are. And I do this because I truly believe that sometimes you need to “lose your shit” or have a huge meltdown, letting yourself feel all of the things you’re feeling, in order to break through that glass ceiling that’s holding you back and level-up your life.
Because…sometimes, you need to fall apart in order to fall together.
When we ignore or bottle up these feelings, they fester. And that only creates more anxiety and chaos within. We may think we’ve shoved aside and carefully hidden these feelings, but they are most certainly still there…and sooner or later, they’ll come back with a vengeance.
It is 100% normal to feel overwhelmed and out of control about events in your life. And most of the time, that won’t look like something as major as having a panic attack. It’ll simply look like crying for no reason…or having knots in your stomach…or feeling unstable/all over the place…or wanting to punch a wall and then crawl under your covers. Those feelings are not wrong, and they definitely don’t make you weak or any less of a #bossbabe badass. They make you a beautiful, imperfect human. A beautiful, imperfect human who desperately needs to release whatever tension or built up bullshit you’re holding inside you.
I hereby give you permission to fall apart. Break shit. Throw a total shit fit. Cry your eyes out. Feel everything that your body is bringing to the surface. Let it all wash over you like a wave, and soak up every bit of it.
Then, after you’ve let it all out, grab a journal and write down the FACTS about the situation(s) you are feeling anxiety around. Just the facts. Don’t attach any emotion to the story with phrases like “I felt” or “It bothered me when…” Again, JUST facts. Here’s an example:
When I was falling apart in my car before yoga, it was because I had just checked my bank account and was feeling stressed about finances and how much I’d been working. I was exhausted from picking up extra jobs, and it seemed like no matter how hard I worked…I couldn’t scrape up enough for what I needed to live comfortably during my job transition. I was feeling anxious about my self-employment schedule and how non-routine it was. I was nervous I wouldn’t have the energy to make it through another weekend of late-night shifts and also be able to lead powerful yoga classes on the days after. I was feeling like a failure for not having my financial shit together at 24 and for not being able to put money aside every month for savings. Basically, one event (checking my bank account) led me into a downward spiral and deep into some seriously negative self-talk.
^ See how much emotion is packed into that?
Now, let’s just look at the facts:
And that’s it! Those are the ONLY facts in the scenario I just described above - everything else was emotionally charged and extra “stuff” that came up as a result of the way one simple event made me feel. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s just not necessary to dwell on, ya know?
So, when these situations arise…I let myself downward spiral and feel all of the toxic shit seeping out of me - all of the negative stories and thoughts that come up whenever I’m feeling “less than.” And then I check the facts. And I drop all of the added emotion. And I pause to think about why this one event has brought up so much for me.
We all have that one self-sabotaging “false truth” we tell ourselves. Well, mine is that I’m not succeeding enough, and that I’m a failure. And 9 times out of 10, when I get worked up and begin to feel myself slipping…it stems from that false truth. Knowing that false truth and being able to recognize it is half the battle…the other half is being able to squash that false truth that is SO emotionally driven by just looking at the facts.
Acknowledge. Accept. Let it Go.
Next time you feel like booking a one-way ticket to another country and fleeing from your normal life, don’t hide from your feelings or tuck them away. Let yourself fall apart. And then afterwards, simply write down the facts about the scenario, and maybe ask yourself why you added so much emotion to the story. Each time this happens, you’ll learn something new about yourself and gain some insight into the inner workings of your mind. Then, you can use that knowledge to level-up your life and become the most self-aware, powerful, unstoppable human that you ever dreamed you could be.
You got this.
Tori Talks was created to inspire people to become the most authentic and empowered versions of themselves - a space where personal experiences, tips, and tidbits guide others to live strong, grounded, and powerful lives.