What is anxiety or fear?

Few years back, I suffered from an extreme anxiety disorder, commonly called a panic attack. I was rushed to the hospital due to excessive giddiness and palpitations. At this time, I was a successful finance professional steadily rising up the corporate ladder with two young kids at home. I thought I had it all although there were some strained relationships within the family. Obviously, the working lady syndrome had caught up with me – I was a working mother, and the enormity of having to manage it all and excel at everything – to be a competent professional at office demanding raises and promotions, and to be a good mother and wife at home, the guilt of not having enough time to spend with my kids when they needed me, to manage the entire house without any family support – the extreme stress had caught up with me. Unknowingly, I had fallen prey to extreme anxiety trying to manage both home and office and making everything work – taking responsibility for everything on my young shoulders. A battery of tests was conducted on me, but the doctors could not find any physical issues. Finally, I was referred to counselling and prescribed some anti-anxiety medication, but they made me feel very groggy and sleepy. I started looking for a natural or alternative cure to my illness. I started practicing mindfulness.

What is anxiety or fear? It is basically the perceived loss of something that we draw comfort from or consider very dear to us. For different people, it may be different – for me it was my job, fear of losing that stable pay check every month, fear of not being able to raise my kids well, fear of losing face at home or office. Yes, we all have this fear or anxiety, but when it rises beyond manageable proportions, then it may result in mental and physical issues like I had.

This fear or anxiety comes from the intense attachment that we feel towards something or someone, which is much more than warranted or called for. The more I realized this, the more disentangled I became from things and people. Within a few days, I had hit the rock bottom – I had lost my job, I was unable to take of my children or home or even do my daily activities. Was my fear worth all of this? This started me on a life-changing journey – on the path of meditation and mindfulness, to explore who I am, what I really want in life, and what I can handle and not. Even if this means losing my job or cutting down on my family requirements, I would have to do it so that it becomes manageable. And at the same time, having the courage to get out of toxic relationships that were causing me stress and endangering my health.

More on what I did to come out of this extreme anxiety disorder in my next article. So long.

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