I lost one of my favorite posts on anxiety. As a constant companion, I was candid about how difficult it can be. So I reinvented it. Below is the summary of my path.

I woke up shaking. My hands, my chest, my heart… and this wasn’t the first time. This was every. Single. Morning. Something terrible had happened to me. There was no death in the family. I hadn’t lost a job. No. This was anxiety. Have you ever been so stressed that you could feel it in your body? I was so stressed that anxiety took over. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t function. All I could do was shake and cry. And I did the hardest thing possible, because I knew… I knew somewhere inside me, that I was still a person who deserved contentment. So I got help. I called my loved ones. I called my doctor. I called a therapist.

My family helped. They nurtured me when I needed it most. I was 32 years old and rocking in my dad’s lap because I needed to be held.

My therapist helped. She guided me. She identified where my stress was coming from and why. She gave me homework, and I did every single bit of it. I was a good student, because I wanted the pain to go away.

That’s me on the right. That is the face of severe dysfunctional anxiety. It’s hard to tell, right? Anxiety isn’t always visible on the outside.

It stemmed from loss. Not loss of a physical object or even a relationship. It was a loss of self. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I still didn’t have an answer to that question. I loved being a mom. It was the first thing in my life that I felt that I was meant to do. And I felt horribly guilty, because I was telling myself that it wasn’t enough. So my therapist guided me, or shall I say, had me guide myself toward the things that made me feel, not just content, but complete.

My therapist asked me, “What did you do as a child that you truly loved?” I ran. I was pretty good at it. But it wasn’t just the running. It was the bond I shared with my fellow teammates. “What do you wish you could do with your life now?” I wish I could help people; people just like me with debilitating anxiety. “What do you do currently that you love?” I love yoga. It makes me feel great. *GASP* Could *I* be a yoga teacher?!

I’d like to say that I instantly transformed. No. My anxiety is a life-long struggle. It took me 6 months to start feeling like a human being again, and I worked hard at it. I never gave up, though I thought about it a couple times. But I had a new direction in life. I started taking yoga seriously and began attending several classes a week. I found a mentor who had a very similar path to mine, and she took me under her wing. I signed up for a Yoga teacher training.

One month later I was learning how to become a yoga instructor, and five months later I graduated. When I completed that training, I knew I had found the missing link. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. So I taught. I taught a lot. And I participated in the Yoga community. I shared ideas. I answered questions. I made friends. I built up the teammates that I had missed so much from my childhood. And I attended more trainings. Sharing this with SO many other people in the world who need it became my focus. I started sharing this experience with mothers, teachers, therapists, friends, and all-around good people who want to make the world a little bit better by experiencing and sharing the joy of yoga.

Yoga has provided an amazing community. It has been an amazing journey. There are always obstacles, of course. I won’t act like life is perfect from this point on; but when you’re doing something you love, and you feel like you are making a small difference in this crazy, pressure-filled world, life is meaningful and a whole lotta fun!