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Cecilie Aslaksen Headshot

Why I Embrace Anxiety

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Back in 2008, I hit rock bottom mentally. I was totally exhausted after my kids got diagnosed, and all of a sudden became "special needy" children, like as if they had changed from one day to another. There were actually family members that said that this changed happened, not me, because I had experienced their needs every day since they were born.

I had a job, three kids, no network to rely on, and one day my body collapsed.

And suddenly I had the biggest anxiety attack I've ever experienced, and my fellow colleagues were afraid it was a heart attack, so they called for an ambulance. I never went back to that job.

Not because they misdiagnosed me, but because that became the most profound turning point in history -- for me anyway.

I knew I needed to become more self-caring, acknowledge that fact that I wasn't a superwoman, just an ordinary mom trying to make ends meet, and maintain a normal life despite the diagnoses that all of a sudden ran around in our home. The problems had always been there, but now they had names.

We had Asperger syndrome, cerebral palsy and for me -- anxiety.

The only problem is that anxiety is not a disease, it's a symptom. It's your body telling you that something is totally off.

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It was very easy for me to embrace my childrens diagnosis, and I read everything I came across about them, to more easily understand my kids and their needs, but for my anxiety the story was somewhat different. I tried to dulm the fact that my body was trying to help me. It was saying I needed to make some changes. And I wouldn't listen.

In fact it took a couple of years before I started listen. In the meantime I had seen counselors, and tried medication, but none of those actually help, unless you're willing to face the problems right on. The medication in my case, turned me into an existing zombie, not a living human being.

But one day, I said enough was enough. No more feeling sorry for myself. No more blaming others for my problems. Time to bite the dust. And I did.

And when I began to see anxiety as an asset instead of a chain, things automatically changed for the better, in all aspects of my life.

I conquered all my issues from the past, chewed them, spit them out, and placed the blame where it belong -- in the past.

Everytime I feel my anxiety level starts rising, and I feel the need of disappearing, maybe start on medication again, or starting blaming other, I pause.

I take a deep breath, actually several, and take a timeout for myself. Asking myself what it is about that situation that I react on, ask myself how I usually react in similar situations, and really evaluate them all.

This way I show my body that I appreciate it telling me that something is wrong, by giving me anxiety attacks. When I'm not able to see it myself, I have my body to help me see it.

And for the last year I've not used medication, I've created my own job, I have three happy kids, and I'm happy to be alive. I live the life I've dreamt about living.

All thanks to anxiety.

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