A personal story...

November 2, 2015

Even when our life seems to be perfect in every way -- we are healthy, have great jobs, have loving family and friends -- we can still experience feelings of sadness and depression. Today I will be sharing something that I have been dealing with recently and I finally have the courage to talk about it. Even if my story helps only one person, it will be totally worth it for me.

For the past six months or so I have been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks. This is something completely new for me, therefore it took me a while to realize that I was dealing with these issues. The first symptoms I started having before finding out I was suffering from anxiety was feeling extremely ill. I would have stomach issues and migraines almost every single day. I was mentally exhausted because my mind will keep telling me that something bad was going on with my health.  I was also dealing with the loss of a family member and because of this I was having trouble with my sleep. Naturally, the combination of those things was triggering extreme panic attacks and anxiety. It was like a vicious cycle. 

I still don't know the real reason why I started suffering from anxiety...but I can certainly pinpoint a few things that might have contributed. One of them being the loss of my cousin Miguel. It was a very unexpected success and it was my first time experiencing the loss of a close family member. I noticed that I had my first panic attack on the airplane back to Indianapolis coming back from the funeral. My mind kept controlling me and I started having thoughts like "what if this airplane crashes" or "good luck getting back home safely". Suddenly after that I started having chest pain and hyperventilation. I knew immediately that I was dealing with a panic attack and that's when it all started for me. When I got back home to my partner Claudio, I told him about it and he also agreed that what I experienced on the plane was indeed a panic attack. 

After finally accepting that I was having anxiety issues, I started doing research and looking up stories of people with similar issues. I found some inspiring stories from young people suffering from panic and anxiety attacks. I tried to follow their advice and spent time doing physical activities and keeping my mind busy at all times. Doing these things definitely helped, but it didn't cure my anxiety. I still suffer from occasional panic attacks and anxiety and the episodes are stronger at night when I am trying to fall asleep. I guess the reason of it is because my mind takes over when everything is quiet and everyone is sleeping. Because of the extreme anxiety attacks that I was having, I decided to take a trip home to Puerto Rico and spend time with family to see if this would help me. That is the reason why I have not been able to post regularly on the blog and social media channels. I am currently doing much better anxiety wise. I still have a long run  to go before I can say I'm anxiety free, but I am concentrating my energies in learning to deal with it instead of trying to get rid of it. I'd love to know if some of you have experienced similar issues and how you deal with them. Feel free to share your stories and advice in the comment section, maybe this way we can help each other. I shared my story to hopefully help people suffering from anxiety issues and to let them know they're not alone. Even if your life seems to be perfect, anxiety issues can attack anyone. 

xo, Diana