I’ve been through some serious crap in my life, including surviving an eating disorder and an abusive relationship, but last September (2014) presented me with one of my biggest challenges to date.

I was driving to the gym early one morning, as I do nearly every day. It’s a short trip, about four minutes long. But about halfway there, out of the blue I experienced a panic attack. I’ve had panic attacks on and off since my teens and was even hospitalized twice for them. But this was one of the worst: the Mother Of All Panic Attacks. broken-glass-vector_M1xVtePu

If you’ve never had a panic attack, let me tell you, it’s nowhere near visiting DisneyLand on the list of “fun things to do.”

They’re far worse than wearing a pair of pointy-toed stiletto pumps for eight hours straight, a colonoscopy prep or even watching a complete episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Yes, that bad.

You feel like your head’s in an F-5 tornado, except instead of cows and cars flying around your head it’s your own thoughts. And you’re powerless to stop it. whirlwind-mascot-vector_7k-z0Z

In my case, I get sweaty, my heart pounds with adrenaline as if I’ve been dropped in a pit full of scorpions. (Not the band, the creature.

A rendition of Rock You Like a Hurricane would’ve been welcome relief.) I’m also dizzy and disoriented – and without doing anything fun to get to this point.

Somehow I managed to keep driving and finally made it to the gym. Even though the attack was over, I was drained and shaking. I’ve learned over the years to keep moving (you can’t give in to it), so I walked into the gym and saw a couple of friends, did some cardio and tried to act as if I was fine.

I didn’t know if I could stay but I did.

Then I hopped in my car and cried all the way home.

Why? because, A. I honestly thought I was losing my mind for reals this time, B. I’d never be allowed to bring my entire makeup collection into the psych ward, and C. I knew I had to do something about it.

To make things ever more fun, that was just the beginning of this new panic attack revival (which sounds like the name of a new alternative rock band). They got worse and worse.

Soon I was unable to drive anywhere without having an attack. Driving a block down the street became terrifying and I often turned around and went back home. The worst part: The gym triggered panic attacks.

Even simple errands became heroic acts, only without the superpowers or accolades. (I want to blame menopause, but experts tell me panic more often decreases, not increases, post menopause.)

In short, I was a total hot mess. At the end of my rope. On my last nerve. 

Over the years I’d tried just about everything (keep in mind this has been going on since I was 17), including meditation, acupuncture, therapy and meds. Nothing worked and some even made me feel worse.

But I could no longer just try to cope. I had to make a move and fast. So I caved in and scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist. All I could think about was the Seinfeld episode where Jerry tells George he needs a “team” of experts –not just one doctor – to even begin to figure out what’s wrong with him.

Only I’m George. And it’s not nearly as funny as a Seinfeld episode.

I didn’t want to go on medications because I know a lot of them cause weight gain – plus, they’ve never worked for me in the past.

But at this point I had no choice, really, unless I wanted to spend the rest of my life without any social contact other than Facebook and watching reality TV. Which on some days isn’t far from normal life, actually.

After going through two doctors (the first one was a raging misogynist who didn’t believe half the things I said) and about seven different meds, I finally found a great doc and an Rx that worked for me. It took several months from my initial episode to this point.

But in the end it was worth all the trial and error. 

Now that it’s been a full year, I can tell you I’ve never felt better. Don't Panic Note Means No Panicking Or Relaxing

I can drive and work out like a normal person without worrying about freaking out and getting carted off in a straightjacket. (You know those things are far from figure flattering.)

My biggest obstacle, though, was taking that first step: I had to admit I needed help. 

What about you? Could you use some help in the workout and dietary department? Maybe it’s simply reading some of my archived article and blogs (see the tiles on the right hand side of this page) for starters?

What is the one step you can take this week to start the ball rolling in the right direction to help you get healthier, fitter and/or happier?

Your issues don’t have to be nearly as dramatic as mine were in order to wreck your motivation.

If you’re having a hard time getting started, try taking a few baby steps before you call for backup.

This week I challenge you to do the following: Pick one action from the fitness category and one from the nutrition column ­– or both. And take action on it!

FITNESS MINI STEPS

Devote 10 minutes each morning or night to either:

  1. Stretching/doing yoga or foam rolling
  2. Walk – around the house, outdoors, on a treadmill or in place
  3. Meditation or listening to relaxing music
  4. Doing my two new shoulder exercises (videos below – it won’t take a full 10 minutes)
  5. Two or more of the above

DIETARY MINI STEPS

For the next five days do one of these:

  1. Write down everything you eat
  2. Add a salad, cup of veggies or a piece of fruit each day
  3. Stop eating completely two hours before you hit the hay at night
  4. Eat no fried foods/fast food and/or dessert (if the latter is a sticking point)
  5. Two or more of the above

That’s it! You have EIGHT mini moves you can make this week to get you moving and eating better.

Now you.

Which ones will you try? Tell me by leaving a comment below ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓ and sharing this with your friends on social networks!

I’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, stay fit, fab and ageless!

xo

Linda

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***The key to weight loss success no one talks about