I had a panic attack this afternoon.
I feel compelled to write about it because I learned a lot of things. First, a panic attack is not failure. It is a lesson learned. Second, it’s not weakness. It is an opportunity to see how strong you were for so long until something got too big. Third, for me, it was a chance to see how far I’ve come.
In months and years past, a catalyst would have been icing on a cake that propelled me into yelling and shaming and damaging my relationships with the people I love the most.
Today, because of constant work I’ve poured into self-improvement, I felt all of the overwhelm, but I walked away. Never did I fall into a victim mentality because “no one helps me”. Nor did I walk toward anyone and spew venom. I didn’t do irreparable damage.
First, I asked myself why it hurt so much that it feels like my family isn’t showing up for me. And I listened. The answer was, even tho I’ve been showing up for myself, today I went a little too far showing up for someone else and it was at my expense. I hurt because I was mad at myself for not setting a better boundary.
Next, I asked myself why it hurt so much that I didn’t feel looked after. I listened for an answer. The answer was that, while it would be cool to have my family, or more specifically Chris, just omnisciently show up for me, it’s not reasonable. And just because sometimes I catch the glimmer of a grimace that he’s in pain and should ice his shoulder doesn’t mean he should catch all my cues. Hell, I may not even have clues. (And there are totally times I miss Chris’s clues.) Therefore, the answer to my question is that when I have needs, I need to voice those needs.
Today I had a panic attack and I invited Chris to sit with me. He showed up for me. I did it with him by my side. I didn’t have to feel alone.
Showing up for myself doesn’t just mean I run on run days no matter what. Part of showing up for myself means I tell other people what I need. I utilize my support system and let others help me when I need help.
Of course, it also means I get quiet and ask myself what I need. And then I listen and follow through.
I could view my panic attack today as a failure. Well. No. I can’t even do that. I don’t even have the mindset to view it that way anymore. I’ll say instead that, plain and simple, I had a panic attack today and it was a huge growth development moment for me.