Maria is a wife, a mom of three, and one beautiful human being! I met Maria in 2022, and last September, she joined my Panic to Peace program. Maria has struggled with anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia for over a decade. And to say that Maria is incredibly courageous is SUCH an understatement.
In our conversation, Maria gets incredibly raw, real, and honest about what it actually looks like to struggle with driving anxiety and toilet anxiety. And she goes to ALL the places! Whether you struggle with driving anxiety, toilet anxiety, or not, you will get so much out of this conversation!
Maria's Journey to Overcoming Driving & Toilet Anxiety
Maria's Journey With Anxiety, Panic Disorder, And Agoraphobia
Maria told me that she struggled with anxiety most of her life, and although it was uncomfortable, it was always pretty manageable. When Maria started struggling with toilet anxiety, she developed a lot of unhelpful coping mechanisms that ultimately kept her feeling stuck. She would have to stop to use the bathroom soon after leaving the house in order to prevent the anxiety, which only reinforced the toilet anxiety.
After her first child was born, Maria started struggling with severe anxiety and depression. And when she shared that she was dealing with some serious depression, her family became really concerned. Navigating toilet anxiety on her own was extremely isolating, and all she wanted to do was liver her life normally. After losing her daughter was born, her anxiety and depression reached an all-time high. Shortly after this, Maria connected with me and joined my program, Panic to Peace.
Maria said that within a few sessions of Panic to Peace, something totally clicked for her. She started to build the courage to go into the grocery store and navigate the uncomfortable symptoms in a healthy way! When Maria started to approach herself with more self-compassion, changing the stories she was telling herself, and going at her fears, she started to make a big shift in her relationship with anxiety.
How One Of Her Biggest Fears Actually Happened
One day when Maria was driving to her daughter's doctor's appointment, she had to use the bathroom on the side of the road because there wasn't a bathroom around. At the time, the experience was very embarrassing for her because her husband was there. But facing the fear and realizing she was okay actually relieved some of her anxiety. She started packing fewer items in her emergency kit and engaging in far fewer safety behaviors. It was a reminder that she is human and that if you have to go to the bathroom, you can go!
Maria's Advice To Anyone Struggling
Maria's biggest hurdle was feeling completely alone in her struggles. She said that sharing her struggles with people she could trust made her feel so much less alone. And being vulnerable with others released the shame that she had carried with her for so long. Learning that she wasn't alone and that she wasn't weird for struggling with toilet anxiety and driving anxiety ultimately set her free.
Don't forget to tune in and listen to the full episode for all of the details of Maria's amazing story!