How a Trip to the ER Changed My Life
Have you ever had a life-changing moment? Have you ever had that moment that is like a smack of clarity across your face? That moment has many names: an aha moment, come-to-Jesus moment, the light bulb moment. Ever experienced one of those? That moment where it's like, "oh my gosh!" and you suddenly realize your life will never be the same again, or it can't be the same after this point?
A bit of back history about me (if you didn't already know): I am a cancer survivor times four and at the time of my life-changing moment I was working at a cancer support center. It was my dream job. It's what I went to school for. It was exactly what I wanted to be doing with my life.
Things were going well for me at the time. I had been recently diagnosed with type II diabetes in graduate school, but I was managing. The doctors told me I wasn't a typical type II diabetic and thought perhaps chemotherapy had had some long-lasting impact on my body, so they also were terming it "chemo-induced diabetes.
So that's where I was at: I was in my dream job and soon became aware that the very job I had dreamed of was actually triggering my anxiety and panic attacks. But I didn't just "realize" it...no, I was in a bit of denial at first, I think. I loved my job and didn't imagine it could be the culprit of my anxiety and panic.
I was managing diabetes. I was planning a wedding, which was really happy, but since our brain doesn't differentiate between "good" and "bad" stress. I was just stressed. I soon found even some elements in planning the wedding were triggers for me.
One day, I was in a session with a nurse and she was talking about caring for her father who had since died from cancer. During the session I felt myself get shaky. My palms were sweating. I felt dizzy. To this point, I had been thinking every time I had these symptoms, these weren't new symptoms for me, that I must have low blood sugar. Anyone who knows about diabetes knows that low blood sugars are nothing to take lightly. It can be severe. So there I was, sitting in this counseling session with this nurse, trying to provide support to her as she's crying over this experience of taking care of her father as he died from cancer and I'm about to lose it. I thought, "I'm going to pass out. I'm going to go into a diabetic coma right here in front of my client."
My sweet client must have noticed that I was sweating or shaking or that I could barely focus. She stopped talking and asked if I was alright. I told her I was okay but I thought I was having a low blood. Well, being a nurse she knew exactly what that meant. She was responded and was not playing around. She called 9 1 1 as she gave me sugar water to drink.
There I was in the middle of a counseling session, in the middle of the day, in the middle of a beautiful location, at my dream job and I'm being carted away on a gurney, then in the back of an ambulance, shipped to the hospital, to the emergency room to be treated for low blood sugar.
Okay, y'all, here's where the bomb drops.
So if you've ever ridden in an ambulance you know that it is not comfortable and it is even a little bit frightening. (God bless the ambulance drivers, EMT's and all of those people!) On the way to the hospital I was feeling worse and worse. When we arrived at the emergency room they checked my blood sugar...y'all, it was high!
My blood sugar was high. Now, stress can actually elevate your blood sugar level, but it was so high that there was no way that my blood sugar had been low just 20 minutes before. As I sat there a light bulb lit up...it was my aha moment an I realized: "Oh my gosh, I'm having panic attacks!"
I knew I needed to do something about it, that my life could not remain the same. I couldn't have clients calling an ambulance in the middle of a session. Clients are not supposed to be taking care of me. I'm here to take care of them. I soon realized I had to give up my dream job. I had to quit. I couldn't do it. I couldn't do all cancer all the time. It was a trigger for me.
I encourage people to pay attention to their stress and triggers by listening to the body. Your body's gonna tell you what it needs. Your body is going to inform you what it needs and what to avoid. My body had very clearly been communicating with me. The stress response is triggered by any perceived threat and my body was saying, "we cannot go to this place every single day of your young life." So while that was good work that I was doing (good work that they continue to do there) I realized I couldn't stay there.
The moral of this story is this: please pay attention to what your body's telling you. It's trying to help you.
And when you have those light bulb moments, get a pen and paper, put it in your memos, set a reminder: this happened this day because of this. Then decide/figure out what this means for the rest of your life.
For me, it meant I had to make a career shift. I had to move out of that place that I had always dreamed of being in. That was the hard part. I had to move out of my dream job so that I could begin to deal with and manage my own anxiety and panic.
If you want to know more about what I did and how you too can start making a difference in your stress level, your anxiety, your worry, your overthinking, please schedule a call with me! Click the "Let's Chat" button to schedule a call with me. Let me tell you how I can help you to turn your life around, go from anxious to energized™, reclaim your joy in life and heal your anxiety!
f you have to make a change, your body will tell you, but you need to listen.
You can't continue on with elevated stress and a high cortisol level. You will pay the price for that.
Now is the time to make that change! Heal anxiety. Go from Anxious to Energized™ today!