A few weeks ago, my mom said to me, "Shannon, you're doing such a great job with your podcast and everything that you're doing, but I think you're holding back. You need to share the really tough parts of your journey with your community because there are people right now that are where you were, and they need hope." And as my mom usually is, she was right! I've absolutely been holding back.
I've been holding back for a couple of reasons... 1) There are parts of my journey that are still hard and emotional for me to talk about, and 2) I don't want to scare anyone, because there are some parts of my recovery that were definitely really tough and can be triggering to some. But just as my mom was right in the fact that I've been holding back a little, she was also right in the fact that you may be where I was ten years ago, and you need to hear that you're absolutely not alone and you can live the life you want to live, no matter what your struggle looks like right now.
So I figured, who better to have on my podcast and discuss the really hard things with, than my mom? My mom has always been my biggest supporter, and while I was struggling with anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia, she was also my safe person. I leaned on her so much, and thankfully she was always there, supporting me and giving me the kick in the butt that I often needed to heal and overcome. I am so grateful every day that my mom never gave up on me, and I can't wait for my mom to share her wisdom with you!
And just a quick tip! If you're an emotional being like me and my mom, I suggest grabbing a big ole' box of tissues before you hit play because it's one heck of an emotional episode!
The Hardest Parts of My Anxiety Recovery Journey - With My Mom!
The Beginning of My Anxiety Journey
Looking back, I think that many of my struggles with anxiety stemmed from my childhood. I often lived in fear of my dad, who had really unpredictable moods, volatile behavior, and was unable to connect emotionally with really anyone. And ultimately, this taught me that it wasn't safe to express how I was feeling or to even feel uncomfortable emotions.
But my bigger struggles with anxiety began around middle school. There were some things my mom noticed but didn't connect that they were related to anxiety, like me not eating my lunch at school. And as I got to high school, I'd often make up any excuse not to go to school and I'd beg her to let me stay home. My mom recalled that high school was really difficult for me, and I completely agree. I got into really unhealthy relationships, which only made things worse. And around this time, I started to struggle with panic attacks and intense fear every day.
The Most Difficult Moments of My Anxiety Recovery Journey
One of the worst panic attacks happened when I was driving home from my ex-boyfriend's house. And about five minutes into the drive, I had a full-blown panic attack. I still remember feeling terrified and racing home out of fear. And when I got home, I was feeling all of the intense symptoms. I was shaking, pale, puking, and laying on the floor of the bathroom when my mom decided to call an ambulance. And I remember telling my mom during that panic attack... "I can't do this anymore. If this is what my life is going to look like, I don't want to do this anymore." It was truly one of my hardest moments I've ever experienced. And now being a mom myself, I can't imagine hearing these words and seeing the hurt of my child suffering.
I was in a really unhealthy spot in life. Between my toxic relationship, lots of stress, and a buildup of anxiety, panic attacks became a regular thing for me. And ultimately, I had to make a change. Over time, my mom started to realize how unhealthy my relationship was. And leaving that relationship was the beginning of my anxiety recovery journey. Once I was able to heal from that toxic relationship, I was able to start healing from panic and agoraphobia. And my mom was there for me every step of the way.
How My Mom Supported Me Through It All
As my panic attacks continued into adulthood, I would always call my mom for help. One day I was having a panic attack at work, and when I called her, she wasn't able to come and help me. And as hard as this was, it helped me begin to realize that I don't need my safe person to help me work through this.
Having support through the anxiety recovery process is so important, and I am so grateful that I always had the support of my mom! My mom struggled with panic attacks when she was younger, too, so she could always understand what I was going through. She was always there to remind me that things would get better and that I was capable. She really is the best!
But even with a super supportive and loving mom, she couldn't do the work for me. The most helpful thing my mom did throughout my anxiety recovery journey was not giving up on me. She believed that recovery was possible for me, even when I truly thought my life would always be like this. If you want to hear even more about my journey to anxiety recovery, you won't want to miss My Story.
I want to leave you with this message from my mom... "No matter how far into this struggle you're in with anxiety, panic, and agoraphobia, there isn't a timeline. It's not too late to get help. It's not too late to heal. It's not too late to really come out on the other side of it and be able to at one point look back and say... Oh my god, I've made it!"
Don't forget to listen to the full episode to hear from my amazing mum!