I was 13 when my parents divorced and I understood that the world is not safe. Two years later I had my first panic attack and by the time I was 18 I had my first full blown burn-out. I was too afraid, too tired and too lonely to sleep, eat or breathe. My life was over, literally. I knew I was one of the crazy people. It took me two years to get back on the horse. By then I grabbed life by the balls. Travels, work, partying, snowboarding. It all felt like one big hijack. I had to do everything now, before the fear would come back. I could feel it linger in the distance, and my only solution was to live even harder. Go to another party, make more friends, make a bigger career, proof to myself I wasn’t the crazy girl I was running away from.
But you can’t hide from yourself. I used to lie awake at night in total panic, afraid I couldn’t keep it up and lose everything all over again. And I did. I was barely 26 when I had my second burn-out. It took me another three years to get healthy. I felt horrible, anxious, exhausted, my hair and my nails started to fall out, if I slept I had nightmares. I was a mess and it didn’t surprise me I’ve lost it all. Only this time I felt relieved. My life had eaten me, twice. Now that I’ve lost my work, my friends, my social life, my face, But I was still alive. I was free to choose again. I had the chance to have a second life within one lifetime. Something that is not given to many people and which I am still thankful of.
I got better, I got to deal with the fears in a way they are manageable. They are part of me, I accept them. I healed my body and it is strong an healthy now. Only recently I discovered that I never realized I AM strong and healthy. I was still behaving like an ill person.
When you are recovering you have to get used to your limitations and planning to use your energy very carefully. I have never stopped doing that. I was always afraid it would be too much for me, for my body. I panicked when I thought I was in a situation that I thought would ask too much of me. Which sometimes made working very complex.
It is only now that I can see that I am not ill anymore. That there is no need to overprotect myself the whole time. I can go out and have a drink. I can be tired. I can have a fight when I am angry. I can take care of my kids by myself if I have to. I can still function when I have the flu. I don’t need to be nice to other people, because they may have to take care of me. I won’t lose my mind overnight. I won’t get ill again if I eat sugar or treated strawberries. I am so very much alive.
The confidence that comes with this is enormous. I feel so capable. And it allows me to feel an adult. The fear kept me from maturing, it kept me in the position of a child that needs help from others. Now I know I can manage by myself, that I can trust myself completely. How did I ever get by without this?