The first time I ever experienced anxiety I was 26 and I was in the middle of assisting an Anaesthetist to intubate a patient. All of a sudden, this wave of heat flushed over me, my breathing became jagged, and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, my heart rate skyrocketed, and I felt clammy all over. I hurriedly finished my task ensuring the patient was ok and ran outside the theatre. I thought- What the hell was happening to me?! I checked my vital signs as I thought maybe I was having a heart attack, but all my numbers were normal. I spent the next few days researching my symptoms and kept brushing over the term ‘anxiety’, vowing subconsciously that I didn’t have THAT thing that sent people to the hospital freaking out. See there was so much stigma around anxiety and especially in the environment that I worked in. If you weren’t seen as ‘having your shit together’ then you weren’t safe to be practicing at work. I hid this from my colleagues and friends for about 3 months, pretending that I was fine and having little mini panic attacks most days at work but ignoring and suppressing those emotions. After some time, a colleague and I were talking, and I confided in her and mentioned what I had been experiencing and she said she’d been feeling the same too. It was like a weight off my shoulders that someone in our workplace was also feeling similarly. It was the vulnerability, admittance, and acceptance that I needed. Once I had admitted it, I was free of the stigma. My Yoga journey kicked off shortly after as it helped me with my anxiety. The breathing exercises helped me to re-gain control of my sympathetic nervous system when it was in overdrive. The meditations and mindful movements helped me to stay present and become the observer of those thoughts, feelings, and emotions. And my dedication to helping myself expanded when I finally went to go see a psychologist about the issues I was suppressing.

Anxiety can be shit. Panic attacks are shit. You are not alone in your experiences and it can be one of the most debilitating mental troubles out there but how can we grow and learn from it? How can we shine a loving light on the symptoms of anxiety and really hear, see and acknowledge what the messages are from our subconscious? What is it trying to tell us that we have been subconsciously suppressing?

Learning to sit with my anxiety when it arises is one of the best tools I’ve ever been taught and one that I encourage my clients to do. Your anxiety is an emotion, a part of you, will you stop to breathe into it and witness it? You might be surprised by its messages.

How do you deal with your symptoms of anxiety? I’d love to know