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I’m going to be kinda deep with you for a minute. This blog post started because of some keys. You’ll see. I want to open up to you because we’re all human and we all conquer things every day whether or not we’re open about it. I’m going to give you the medium length nutshell version – when I was in middle school I started having anxiety. Like really bad. Like so bad that I would cry every single night knowing that in the morning I had to go to school. The thing is… I LIKED school BUT I had this looming dark cloud over me. I had this irrational fear of my parents dying. I stopped going to sleepovers, I hated when my parents went out of town, I would have meltdowns on Sunday nights FEARING Monday. (I know we all “hate” Mondays) I would spiral into a black hole. Every little change FREAKED me out. I digress…
SO – I started taking anti-anxiety medication and I was cured! The End… I wish. It DID help. It did. When I took it, I suddenly felt balanced. The panic attacks slowed down and I finally could be “me” again. Fast forward to college. I came to a point that I felt like I didn’t need the meds anymore. So I stopped.
I fell into a horrible 2 week depression right before winter exams. I wasn’t myself at ALL and in a few weeks after winter break – I was going to be leaving for London for an amazing study abroad experience. I got new medication and I went to Europe. Part of me thought I was going to freak out because I was going to be away from home for nearly 4 months. Let me tell you something. I never panicked ONCE. I LIVED in London. I was ME and it was AMAZING.
(This medium nutshell version is turning into a longer version… almost done.)
So most of you know, I went full-time photography in June 2015. You would think that would spark a HUGE anxiety firework but actually, I felt like a completely new person IN A GOOD WAY! It’s like the fog has cleared and I’m in an open field where I can breathe.
So now – I’ve actually been off medication since October 2015 and I feel fine, I’m honestly F I N E. Sure, I still have the same stress over taxes and all that jazz, but now I’m able to look at a stressful situation in a new way. I tell myself – “you’re not going to die… you will get through this.” I can’t believe that after years of therapy and my mom telling me that I could learn to control my thoughts that I’m actually in a place where I believe that now. I CAN.
So anyways – the reason I decided to finally publish this post in the first place was because of something that happened last Thursday. I went to meet some friends for happy hour and in the rush of getting out of the car and greeting everyone… I locked my keys in the car. Yep… there they were on my Hollins University lanyard just laying on the floor. Cool. I looked at the keys – looked up at my friend and said “oops.” and even laughed about how silly it was.
So you’re thinking, Brett, why is this so profound?… I’m getting there, k?
It’s profound because the old me would have panicked, cried even, and been like OMG freak out and call mom and dad. The old Brett would have had a meltdown over a silly key. So, new Brett was calm and collected and called AAA and waited for the locksmith. My heart didn’t even skip a beat. I felt accomplished. I texted my mom and told her I was proud because I didn’t freak out and I wanted her to know.
I felt proud of myself. It was a small victory. A silly, small one but a victory nonetheless. After 10+ years of anxiety I’m finally am able to calm myself down when things seem “impossible”… I’m able to work through problems a lot easier… and I’m saving money on tissues. But in all seriousness – I’m proud of the person I’m becoming.
So you, the you reading this, don’t be “too proud” to be proud of yourself. Treat yourself with love and celebrate YOUR small victories.