When thinking about what to share this week, God put an experience I had a couple weeks ago on my heart. Most of my posts are around a message or something motivating with little depth into what is going on in my life. I’m going to be real this week.
I’ve had a lot of stress and exhaustion in my job over the last couple of months. I’ve worked some insane hours because there are things that have to get done. I’ve put in stretches of 40 hours of work in 3 days and been at the office past midnight, but it isn’t all bad. Some weeks are comfortable while others are loaded, it just depends on deal flow and what needs to be completed.
A couple weeks ago there was a competition project for my program that had a quick turnaround and deadline. I tried to put together a quality deliverable to perform well compared to others in the program, so I was at the office until 12:30am with a couple other people. I slept 3 and a half hours just to turn around and be back at the office at 6:45 to meet a noon deadline on a presentation.
I was probably the most stressed out I’ve ever been in my life. Somehow, I woke up before my alarm even though I slept less than 4 hours. During my Marta(train) ride to the office, I was so nervous that I was shaking. I couldn’t really eat much for breakfast and I sat in my train seat feeling like a had to throw up. I had a deep pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat. I don’t think my heart rate dropped below 100 during the entire train ride. Looking back on it, it was probably the beginning stages of what could have turned into a panic/anxiety attack.
I’ve never felt anything like that before. As a college athlete, I was used to being nervous before races with the huge pressure to perform for my team, but I never felt the anxiety that I felt a couple weeks ago.
I know that this is nothing close to the anxiety, depression, and mental health challenges that face many others daily, and I don’t claim to know what that feels like. I only saw a small glimpse of what it could be. I’ll admit that I haven’t had many challenges in my life. I’ve always had a great group of friends to lean on, I had a job way before I graduated college, and I haven’t lost anyone in my family at a young age (all my grandparents are still living and healthy). In the moment a couple weeks ago, I realized that I am not immune to the challenges that so many people have experienced. I am not immune to waves of challenges that I thought would never happen to me.
This stuff is real. I mentioned the experience to one of my friends in Atlanta a couple days after it happened, and he related to it exactly. As nerve-wrecking as it was to admit, I felt better knowing that I wasn’t alone.
If you are experiencing anxiety attacks, you aren’t going crazy and you aren’t on your own. I wouldn’t call what I had an anxiety attack and I don’t know what it truly feels like to have one take you over, but I know there are people going through the same thing. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to me. I’m always open to listen.
God, I pray that you do something unexpected this year. I pray for boldness, courage, love, and guidance every day.
I appreciate you.