A couple years ago, Dash Photography was on the fast track to epic growth and I was on the fast track to epic burnout. I won that race. Ha!
I was managing the business with only one other team member, and the stress created a tornado of anxiety which only increased my already-present susceptibility to depression. These signs are how I knew my anxiety was out of control.
I was constantly on edge or on the verge of tears. Mood swings were far beyond normal. People would ask normal, every day questions and I’d explode either on the inside or at them (mainly my husband).
I couldn’t breath. No matter how hard I tried, I could not take a deep breath. I thought my bra was constricting so I’d take it off; that didn’t help. I used an inhaler so I could fall asleep because I felt like I would suffocate when I laid down. My symptoms were most intense at night…when I didn’t have anything distracting my brain and it was attempting to turn off.
Physically, I could not sit still. I was constantly fidgeting, getting up and down in my seat. I couldn’t even sit through a tv show.
My social anxiety was off the charts. I would get halfway where I was going, turnaround, and go home. Breakdowns happened in the car on the way to hang out with friends…I felt like I was driving to my death. If I actually made it, I would shut down and couldn’t form sentences. I sweat through my clothes, and couldn’t have an intelligent conversation if my life depended on it.
I hated my job. Instead of finding joy in something that brought me life for so long, I resented it. However, it was the only thing I could control, so I controlled the hell out of it. I worked nonstop. It was the only thing that seemed to keep me distracted, yet it was actually the most detrimental.
The only emotion I felt was anger. Empathy, joy, compassion, patience–all gone. I didn’t even really know what emotions felt like anymore.
If this is you…
If you resonate with any of these symptoms, I encourage you to chat with a professional who is trained in anxiety, depression, and stress management. There can be light at the end of the tunnel, I promise. It’s not normal. It doesn’t have to be your every day. It can get better, but you have to choose to take a step. If you’re curious about how I addressed mine, read about the steps I took.
YOU are beautiful….thats all.
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