It was a sunny day in late fall, 1987. I crossed the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University, dead leaves still crunching underfoot as the grass was fading from green to a pale grey color. Winter was on the way.
I was excited to see my girlfriend of about a month. My life revolved around her. My friends were abandoned so I could focus all my time with her. And today meant giving up a tennis game with my best friend Albert so I could hang out with her.
The trek took about five minutes from my home at Brotherhood Dormitory to the freshman girls dorm where my girlfriend lived. I received bad news upon calling up to her room. She broke up with me. She refused to even see me.
I began my walk back to Brotherhood. I couldn’t breathe. I broke out in a sweat. My mind would not focus. It was like I had blinders on.
It was my first panic attack.
One thing I recently noticed about my weight loss transformation is I am more able to deal with my anxiety and less prone to panic attacks.
One of the reasons I avoided places like Walmart was the debilitating panic attacks. Adding panic attacks to a person who generally gets short of breath walking to the bathroom is a dreadful idea.
If you read my posts about new adventures, you already witnessed my inner voice and what it can do to add anxiety to my life. See A New Adventure, Part I, A New Adventure, Part II or A New Adventure, Part III.
I am either my own worst enemy, or the enemy is disguising himself as me. This is why that second conversation is so important. See Conversations.
In reality, panic attacks are the tip of the iceberg. What you see on the outside pales in comparison to the seemingly limitless anxiety that builds up under the water line.
Anxiety expresses itself in funny ways. If you’ve had a friend who said an out of place joke at an awkward moment, that was probably anxiety. If you saw someone expressing anger that seemed out of place and unwarranted, that was probably anxiety. If you saw a coworker just check out and give up in the face of an approaching deadline, that was probably anxiety. If your loved one looked blankly at you while your talking to them and they cannot seem to follow the conversation, that was probably anxiety.
Anxiety can easily be misdiagnosed as an attention deficit disorder. It can be confused with the assumption that someone does not like you, does not care about others or is generally hateful.
Anxiety can isolate us into a loneliness that easily turns into major depression or other mood disorders.
But it does not usually kill us.
And you know what they say about that which does not kill us.
Losing weight, for me, meant addressing the core causes of my anxiety and turning them over to someone else. That was the first conversation. The one with God.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 NIV