I was working a job I’d come to loathe when I had my first panic attack. I was making my commute when an overwhelming wave of anxiety swarmed me like a herd of bees. It was a foreign experience, and I didn’t know if I was ill or going crazy. I naively described it as a tingling sensation that I didn’t know how to end, and at the time, I blamed too much caffeine. Those powerful moments could make me question every aspect of my life, and the answers were only more questions.
Looking back, these feelings were an alarm call … that something needed to change drastically in my world. But in that moment, all I could see was that I wasn’t in control — not of my feelings, my body or my head.
Essentially, that’s the awful nature of feeling that something is not right and acknowledging it. You cannot just will it away. I faced enough instances of these attacks over the next several months to make me worry that this was just my new life, some sort of adult coming-of-age that no one had warned me about. Thankfully it wasn’t. Within the next year, I left that job and purposefully began surrounding myself with driven, positive people. The benefit of a fresh start was as immense as the downsides of staying in the same rut had been.
Years have passed, and I haven’t felt that sting. And the preventative measures I’ll take to stave it off have been a long game. I still get stressed (duh), but I try to stay away from triggers that would send me down an anxiety-riddled path again, like saying yes to too many people and projects at once. Or not petting my dog enough.
But beyond a panic attack, there are other threats to our mental state, from chemical imbalances to addiction, negative self-talk and actual abuse. The battle against these things can require quite the arsenal. We at DIME, by no means, have the cure-all, but we do want you out there to know that your weird tingles, internal voices and mental fragilities make you human, nothing less. Sometimes, just raising your head to see the suffering of others around you can give you grounds for gratitude and motivation to improve your situation, and sometimes it just helps to know you’re not the only one doing the struggle we call life. We hope your 2017 is full of yays and high-five moments, but also that the unavoidable blahs and mehs are entirely survivable. We’re rooting for you!
Editor in Chief