Wow, there is so much to say about this word. Recently, I find myself playing “kill a word” by Eric Church non-stop lately. If I could kill one word, that word would be anxiety. ANXIETY, what is it? Where does it come from? Who is affected by it? Why does it happen? So many questions I have asked myself over the years. My earliest memory of having anxiety was maybe when I was around 10. We were at our family friends summer home and it was a very hot day. They only had a window air conditioner in one room so we all hung out in that room. I remember having a hard time breathing. It was like someone was sitting on my chest and I was gasping for air. I started to panic. I believe that was also my first panic attack. My mom had to calm me down and tell me everything was going to be okay. Shortly later I was better again. Not too many panic attacks happened after that for many years. I do recall having lots of anxiety. I realized part of the reason I was a shy kid is because I was anxious. When I entered a room, I would always immediately feel everyone judging me. As a kid, I was always observing rather than talking. I always felt a little different, but I wasn’t exactly sure why. Through life experiences, I am no longer that shy girl anymore but I still experience anxiety. I have accepted that it will always be a part of me. The good thing is that I get to choose whether it takes over my life or not. I choose to live a happy and fulfilling life without letting it get the best of me. A little over a year ago, I seemed to have hit rock bottom with my anxiety and panic attacks. Just when you think it’s gone, it creeps back up on you and takes over your life. At the time, I was dealing with the loss of my dog Bella and a hard breakup with someone I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was just over 30 years old and I thought my life was going to get better, instead it all was falling apart in front of me. I am someone who holds things in for a while and then when I can’t take it anymore it just all comes out. Well, that is what happened. I had ONE BIG HUGE panic attack. Well, at least I thought it was because I was convinced that was it for me, I was dying. When my family rest assured to me that I was not dying I calmed down but was still in a state of shock. Now, I know what a panic attack feels like, but this was different. Why was it lingering? Why do I not feel like myself? Why is it not getting better? Well, after that I had another panic attack and another. These panic attacks continued day after day. I didn’t want to leave my house. I didn’t think I would ever be the same again. I literally thought I was losing my god damn mind! I told my parents right away that I wanted help, because that’s what hypochondriacs do is they get help right away. Haha. Anyway, they were extremely supportive and helped me through this extremely dark time in my life. I was diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I learned so much about myself and the way my brain works. I am a survivor. I didn’t let anxiety take control of my life. I took anxiety by the neck and said get out! Now it still comes knocking on my door time to time, but I have learned to not let it in. I have learned the tools to let it be. The moment you take control, it seems to disappear. That’s exactly what I did, I took control back in my life.