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My anxiety led me to change my life.


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The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in the underground of a major Italian city. I had just been to see an important client and I had my third espresso of the day with them. In the previous three days, I had worked long hours from the conference rooms of the hotel I was staying in, without ever seeing the sunlight.

From that moment on, fear and anxiety just enveloped me like an invisible cloak and never left. I went from being confident, always smiling and brave, to not being able to go to the supermarket anymore and to clinging to the chair in my office because I felt that, if I stood up, I would certainly faint.

Truth is, it wasn’t that moment to “make me ill” with anxiety. It was brewing in the background due to a poor work/life balance, a flurry of family challenges and the loss of two friends from fatal illnesses in a short space of time. That day, my body decided to tell me that it was time to make a change. I needed to change the way I was living, but most importantly, my mindset.

In the years that followed I started therapy, I went back to Uni, I crafted from scratch a career and a lifestyle more aligned with my values and my needs. Amazingly (to me, at least!), I am now also able to go to the shops, to restaurants, and on public transport without feeling like I want to run away. All of this is still work in progress years later, but I am grateful every day for the choices I made along the way…and, yes, sometimes, I am grateful to my anxiety for the wake up call!

A lot helped me get to where I am today, but the one thing I distinctly remember was one quote I read when I was at my best: “we always have a choice”.

Once I received the message from my body, then it was up to me to choose what to do. Sometimes we think we are powerless and we don’t have a choice in life, but I really believe that we always do. Afterall, not acting is also a choice. This principle has guided me throughout my evolution, and it feels liberating to know that every day I have the power to make good choices to help me move forward.

Even when we think we don’t have the resources to make a decisive change in our lives, for example quitting our job, or changing career, we can choose to take the smallest step. At the very least, as Victor Frankl said, we can exercise the last of human freedoms: to choose our attitude in any set of circumstances.

Choosing our attitudes can mean different things: start setting boundaries, start valuing ourselves, letting go of perfectionism and fear of failure. Even these smallest changes have the power of turning things around and creating a virtuous cycle.

If my experience is resonating with you, I want to leave you with a few questions to get you started:

  • What is the smallest step I can take today so I can get closer to my desired state?
  • What would be a more helpful way to think about my current situation?
  • What do I need to say NO to, in order to say YES to what I really want?

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UNVAELD Professional Help

We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.
We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.