brave, personal growth, running

my heart will beat fast and I will be stronger than it

This morning I ran to ‘train’ for my 4-mile race in Central Park on April 6th.
And truth be told, I had tears coming down my cheeks during this shot of me below when I was running:

this

Why would someone cry when they run?  Well, because today I was bigger than my anxiety.  I was brave.

Last summer I suffered a major anxiety attack (something I wish no one ever has to go through, yet sadly,  it affects so many Americans) and I was afraid of ever getting my heart to race again.  In case you have never had an anxiety attack before, let me quickly tell you how it goes down (at least, for me).  First, your mind starts to over-think things.  And then suddenly, you find yourself freaking out.  It could be about anything.  Your mind then gets stronger and takes over all of you.  For me, it starts to freeze up my fingers, contorting them to bend at different angles, and then stay that way.  It is usually accompanied by a painful pull at my forearms that I cannot bare.  I then start to scream “I cannot breathe!” and am literally gasping for air.  My heart is racing at a speed that I don’t ‘think’ I can control and becomes very uncomfortable.  It’s kind of like a suspense movie that is going on internally in your body, just about to climax, everything is coming to a boiling point, the music gets higher and higher in pitch, and then…. it never climaxes.  You are just stuck.  Scary situation, huh? It is.

The only way for it to go away is by relaxing, slowly breathing in and out, and bringing reality back to your mind.  You have to play mind games… with.your.own.self.  It’s a battle that s u c k s.  But it does happen and when it does, you have to control it.  Yoga helped me with controlling this (I’ll post about that another day).  But boy, oh boy, does anxiety stink.

So today I cried during my run.  Because today was the first time that I ran since last summer.  Today was the first time I accepted that my heart will beat fast.  Yes, I was afraid and I knew it was going to be uncomfortable.  But I did it.  And nothing.bad.happened.

NOTE: I am not a runner (by any means!  I even found that I wail around my legs and arms when I run!), but for many years I’ve always wanted to run a 5K (I know, crazy).  And recently, with this second wind, it made me realize that this is something that will fulfill me and my life.  This is something I always said I wanted to do and will prove to myself that I can do it.  I am willing to be uncomfortable to fulfill this thing inside me.  To be honest, I’m not quite sure where this will take me, but that’s the beauty of life.  And I am so happy that I am learning this now.  I was brave to sign up for a 4-mile race (eep!), but I am enlightened by what training for it will do for me and what it has, with one little run this morning, already done for me.

My heart will beat fast and I will be stronger than it.

Loren.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Massimo February 22, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    You made me tear with your first post! When I first met you I could see the potential in you. I know you’ve been through so much and I know you can be such a strong woman. You can be your biggest enemy and I think you are starting to see that. You are the only one putting a ceiling to you, and you can be anything you put your mind to.

    I love you and am there for you always.

    Your husband,
    Massimo

  • Reply Julia February 22, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I had a very similar experience but with hot yoga. My first class was so intense but the instructor just kept reassuring that everything will he right… To let go… To let go. And after going through some tough time months prior I let go… As if all that sweat pouring out was part if the weight holding me down and it was an amazing feeling! I’m so happy and proud of you for taking these steps. I know it’s not easy, but you’ve taken the first step and that’s always the hard part. Love you! xoxo Julia

  • Reply mchirangi March 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    You have truly inspired me. I lived through my first anxiety attack just a few weeks ago. I had no idea what I was feeling and why. I have been going through a recent break up with the most amazing man in my life. We dated only go a short amount of time, but he was truly the light in my life and the reason to live for close to 2 years. He taught me how to be happy. Truly be happy from within. His impact in my life was so strong that when our relationship didn’t progress, I continued to think my worst fears would come true quicker than I ever wanted. I was thinking about all of this the morning I went through my first anxiety attack. My mind controlled my body. My heart was beating faster and faster every second. It was on ‘fire’. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t tell anyone because I was too embarrassed to go through this at work. I nearly fell over my chair at work during this. So, I can relate.

    You are a stranger to me, but this reading your situation.. I feel enlightened to do something to lessen and to avoid ever getting to this point. It’s been a tough journey for me to feel like the one person I was always scared of losing.. I am nearly losing and there isn’t anything in my control that I could do to change that. And everyday, I wish I could turn back time…

    I randomly came across your blog. Read this. Felt all the emotions all over again, And knew that I had to share my thoughts. Life is good. Thank you for the inspiration and giving me the strength to let go of this feeling. Take the first few steps. Be brave. Love. Be happy. Make a change. Be strong. And stay strong.

    I wish you all the best. Continue to do what you do. I will continue to read your blog. And continue to stay focused. And be inspired.

    Xx
    Chirangi

    • Reply Loren March 4, 2014 at 12:59 am

      Hi Chirangi – First, thank you for coming across my blog, taking your time to read it, and sharing your personal story with me. Second, please don’t be afraid of what’s going on. It’s quite common, but I know that going through your first anxiety attack seems like a crazy roller coaster with no seat belts; however, you do have one and that’s the strength within you (which you have demonstrated in your comment). Take that strength and harness it. Let that energy go towards something greater. I believe that everything happens for a reason and this is the time/opportunity for you to look deep inside yourself and do that thing you’ve always wanted to do but maybe was held back. Go after a dream. Laugh bigger. Smiler harder. Don’t feel alone because the truth is, many people have gone through what both you and I have, just not many people talk about it. And that’s okay, it’s a personal choice. But if it happens next time, just relax and breathe in and slowly breathe out to slow down your heart rate. Think of positive things. Like you said, “Be brave. Love. Be happy. Make a change. Be strong. And stay strong.” I will leave you with 2 things that helped me (1) yoga (which I will post about soon!) and (2) listen to “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel from Disney’s Frozen. Pull up the lyrics and really sing your heart out with the song. It’ll mean something and you’ll feel empowered. You’ll see ;). I, too, wish you the very best and know that you will be so strong and come out on top :). Best Regards, Loren.

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