From December 26-January 1st I was in Vegas. And man was Vegas crazy. Probably drank for a good three or four days straight. The lights and rings of the slot machines, the glitz and glamor of the cocktail waitresses, dealers, and dancers made it feel like one big massive party. Until the next morning.
The feeling of paranoia had never set in like this before. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. Any small sensation on my body, I immediately associated it with some life threatening illness. Walking in the morning, I felt a sensation across my chest. I jumped to the conclusion it was a heart attack. Perhaps my medical education helped me a bit here, because I argued in my mind that I am a 26 year old healthy, active person and the chance for a heart attack was slim. But, the anxiety and worry took over. A sympathetic surge of adrenaline made my heart beat faster, my pupils began to dilate, and my mind began to race.
As much as my body reacted beyond my control, there was one thought that I held on to. The thought of: just breathe deeply, despite any worry or panic. It grounded me, as my body went through its course of panic and worry, I surrendered to the moment. I thought to myself, “Hey if I’m going to pass out then so be it, but I will not give in to panic”.
On new years day, I sat and meditated for 10 minutes. The start of a new years resolution to sit and meditate. I wanted to start sitting just to calm my mind and hopefully cure myself. Whether it would work, there is no guarantee. But it’s now January 30, and I have since gradually increased my meditation times from 10-20 minutes to about 1 hr each day. And each day I have had less and less anxiety to where I can say that it is very minimal.
Meditation has been my saving grace these past few weeks. With all the stress of traveling, I have held on to making meditation a part of my daily routine. Perhaps the symptoms of anxiety was my body’s way of telling me that I am doing something a little too much. (in this case I can attribute that to partying and drinking), and the meditation has been helping me to just slow down. I can’t say that meditation has cured me of any anxiety, because anxiety is part of life, and that these thoughts are natural and should occur when appropriate. However, through meditation, I have learned not to hold onto thoughts too tightly. I’ve learned to let the thoughts flow, and not grab or dwell on them too deeply. So far it’s been working.
I’m thankful for the practice. I wanted to share my experience, because I know how common anxiety is, and having been there I know how scary it could be. Thoughts of losing your mind, and thoughts of will this ever end had haunted me and completely terrified me. For me to sit here and type this, I want to say that your breathe and you being in the moment will save you. You will feel calmer, you will feel more at peace, and you will feel like you can connect better to others, and most importantly yourself. Give yourself that 10 minutes each day to purify yourself. Results don’t happen immediately, but you will develop a stronger sense of inner calm amongst the constantly changing turmoil that is everyday life.