I took a breath in and my lungs pinched. My eyes popped open. It was a weird feeling. I took another breath in and I coughed. This wasn’t good.
My wife tested positive for Covid-19 the day before. I was on edge.
- Did I have Covid?
- Was I going to die?
- What would happen to my wife and boys?
My heart started pounding. I’ve had anxiety attacks before, but this was intense. I tried to take another deep breath to calm myself down and I could only take a half a breath then coughed.
My heart beat increased even more. I stood up. I started choking on my own breath. I walked to the dining room table and back to the couch. We put a bed in the living room to limit my exposure to breathing the same air as my wife, so I wouldn’t get Covid. I guess it didn’t matter. Now I was dying. I paced back and forth from the dining room table back to the couch 100 times. My heart rate began to slow a bit. I sat on the bed that we put on the floor. I laid down and my chest tightened up. I tried to relax and I couldn't. I put my feet under my covers and then realized that my breath could infect my boys. I didn’t want them getting Covid. I dragged the bed to my office to limit the virus exposure in the room.
I tried to fall back asleep, but my mind kept going to morbid places. How was my wife going to pay for the mortgage on just her salary? What if my oldest son got Covid and it damaged his lungs? What if…
I just couldn’t calm down.
What spikes your anxiety?
We all have our anxiety achilles heel. We have certain things we are afraid of and they take up a lot of mental space. It’s this space that drags us down. Most of the time we don’t even realize until we have something that shocks us into attention.
This was Covid for me. I tested negative the same day my wife tested positive. That was three days ago.
I tried everything for three hours to calm down, but nothing was really working. I decided to do a Dig to Fly method because my breathing exercises were making me feel worst. I was worried that I was going to die and leave my family behind.
I’m not going to go through each question. You can see how I did that in this blog post, Dig Deep to Fly High, and with Chris on this podcast Career Pivot.
It still amazes me how well this method works. I’m a cynic at heart, but each time I do the method I feel better.
When you take the time to dig deep and understand what is going on, so you can make connections that help you make lasting change that’s when your life improves.
I saw my fear of dying very clearly. I’m so grateful for my Panic Attack. It showed me how I’m only scratching the surface and I look forward to digging deeper, so that my negative thoughts don’t take over because of a stressful situation.
My wife is still fatigued by the virus, but she is starting to feel better. I’m amazed by how my thoughts spiraled out of control so quickly. I felt so grateful for the ability to dig into my thoughts in a systematic way. It helped keep me grounded. I’m fascinated by how each thought stirs some form of energy inside of me. It was because of this anxiety attack that I’ve noticed other feelings that I’ve taken for granted. Just yesterday I had a chocolate craving. Before I could even process what I was doing, I was off the couch and walking toward the pantry.
Amazing! A subtle thought like “chocolate would taste good” got me moving and excited. I’m tuning into these thoughts and emotions and seeing how little power I have over my day.
Ahhh, so very interesting.
A panic attack just a few years ago would have wrecked me for days. I probably would have fallen into a depression, but now it bothers me for a few hours and as I dig deeper it just becomes interesting and I move on to the next interesting thing in my life.
That’s what I repeated to myself, “Ahh, so interesting.”
That phrase showed me how far I’ve come with my mindset. This takes practice, but the more that I dig deep into my thoughts and emotions, the more I open up mental doorways that were closed before.
Now it’s your turn. Go and open your own mental doorways. I suggest starting by keeping a gratitude journal or fill out a Dig to Fly Printable. You can join our community and instantly get the printable delivered to your inbox. The idea is to dig into your thoughts and emotions to become more aware so you don’t get too attached. You don’t want every little annoyance to bother you and every traumatic experience to scar you. When you can just see something as just interesting and a learning experience, you cultivate emotional intelligence that can help you in every facet of your career and life.
I got tested after I calmed down. My second negative test in four days. I was having severe allergy issues which was causing my restricted breathing issues. I look back on this experience now and I’ve learned so much about myself. How I’m not as relaxed about dying as I thought. I care so much about my family. I quickly overreact when I’m already stressed.
It was a great learning experience and my wife is back to 100%. I’m just so grateful for our health. I try not to take my family’s health for granted, but I fall into these mental traps just like everyone else.
Photo by Mitchell Griest on Unsplash