I took a lot of time off to work on me.
I was dealing with fear of the unknown, panic attacks, sleepless nights, and constant uncertainty. It got to the point where I knew I couldn’t continue without help, so I found a therapist.
After many sessions of hashing out why I couldn’t sleep at night, the panic attacks I experienced, and my life circumstances, I was told I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and, as it turns out, runs in my family. My grandma has it, my mom has it, and now I have it.
I was too nervous about medication, so I avoided it at all costs. My therapist and I worked through pretty much my whole life, and I learned a lot about what drove my anxieties and how to manage them in a healthy way.
We talked about the subconscious, thought-stopping, and how panic attacks only last around 10-15 minutes and were not life-threatening. During the attacks, however, I always felt I was going to suffer a heart attack. Naturally, a lot of people who experience panic attacks feel the same way.
I cannot begin to express how encouraging it was to simply put a name to my experience and realize I was not alone. Even though GAD is something I will have to manage my whole life, I can learn tools to cope with the experience and still have a fulfilling life.
It took quite a while before the tools I learned actually began to take effect. It really wasn’t until I started to take control of my life that I felt I was starting to improve. I decided that my next course of action was to apply to law school, which, as I quickly learned, takes some time!
I joined the Law School Admissions Council, signed up for the LSAT, bought some study materials and off I went! The time it took in between studying and waiting for the test to approach felt like forever.
In between those periods, I noticed my anxiety would surface more, because I felt it wasn’t happening soon enough and I was afraid I would get stuck. However, what helped me the most in dealing with my anxiety, was to picture that subconscious anxious part of myself as a little 4-year-old me. I learned to talk to her gently, reassuringly, and calmly. I may have needed to repeat myself to her a few times before she would quiet down, but she always would without fail. The more I practiced this, the less time it took for me to calm myself.
So, I got an okay-ish score on the first go-around of the LSAT, but I have signed up for the next one and am surely not giving up! I know this is what I want for myself and I know I will end up there. As for the school, I’m just aiming for the best one I can get into.
It’s been a few months since I’ve last seen my therapist, as I’ve found my ability to gain my strength back and “walk on my own”, so to speak. Overall, I saw him for just about one year and learned so much about myself. If anyone feels uncertain about therapy and maybe is on the fence, as I was for a period of time, I say go for it. It was one of the best things I did!
Self-work, self-care, and healing are incredibly important and need to be a priority in our crazy action-filled lives. Don’t wait til the last minute to take care of yourself! It is not a shame to seek help. The time I took off to heal myself will stay with me my whole life.
Please feel free to share your experiences below!
As always, thanks for reading!~