It was happening again. I met someone I liked and was so anxious I got sick to my stomach. I ran to the bathroom because there was no place for my anxiety to go except down the drain.
Except this time it was different, this person would lead me to my rock bottom. I was about to fall hard for a man who would literally devastate me in every way.
It was the experience that eventually led me away from my anxiety and towards the person I was meant to become and the life I was meant to lead.
No one around me knew this crippling anxiety had been happening consistently for the last three years. Every time I even had a crush, the fear would creep back in and overwhelm me. My life was paralyzed and consumed by anxiety.
I used alcohol as my crutch to numb the feelings inside. The more I drank the less I felt. It was the only way I could find peace at the time.
At one point, the effects of my anxiety were so bad I weighed a mere 118 pounds at 5'8". It was the same I weighed as an awkward, gangly freshman entering high school. Except I wasn't 15 anymore, I was a 30-year-old woman who had done her best to hide the fear and shame in her face but couldn't hide it in her body.
The fear, shame and feelings of unworthiness began to trickle into other parts of my life. I left a great job to move back to my hometown and live with my parents. Subconsciously, I felt I needed the safety and security of home.
Then I got a job in real estate but never made enough money to support myself because I lacked the confidence and self-worth I needed to take action. As a result, I went in thousands of dollars in credit card debt.
I felt like a complete failure and the thoughts of wanting my life to end crossed my mind more than once.
It all started when I ended a five-year relationship with the man I thought I would marry. He was perfect. We were perfect. But it just wasn't working.
I thought if I couldn't make it work with Mr. Perfect, then I wasn't worthy of ever having love.
Without a relationship, I felt I there was no real purpose and reason to continue my life.
This belief was the root of the anxiety that began to slowly cripple me and affect not just my relationships but my entire life as well.
Over the course of three years, I attracted countless people who were unavailable and emotionally abusive.
I did things and got involved in situations I never dreamed of, just to have a relationship.
I got involved with a man for over six months who lived in another state and was happy to sleep with me but would only text me when we were apart.
I got involved with a man who did all the right things and then when I slept with him, he disappeared.
I dated a man for months who decided to vanish and never called back.
I waited around for months for a man who was planning to break up with his girlfriend but never did.
I got involved with a man for almost a year who told me he loved me and wanted to have children with me but wouldn't commit to a relationship.
By the end of it all, I looked around and realized my self-worth had been completely demolished. I had no idea who I was anymore.
I knew in that moment, in order to create the type of relationship and life I really desired, I had to gather what courage I had left and travel down the scary path of becoming the best version of myself.
I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I also knew my life was worth the fight.
Honestly, I couldn't get any lower. The next option was suicide.
Suicide wasn't an option for me, because my stepbrother who was only three weeks younger than me had died by suicide the year before. He didn't feel worthy of love.
In a sad and heart-wrenching way, even though I have never told anyone this before, his death saved me.
It pushed me to not only to commit to fight for my own life, but to fight for his memory as well, by fighting for the lives of others who also knew what it was like to feel unworthy of love.
So I set out on a journey to reclaim my life and help others do the same:
I had to remember who I was at my core.
I had to go after my personal dreams I had always put on the back burner to be in a relationship.
I had to learn to love and take care of myself first.
I had to rebuild trust in myself.
I had to own and honor the truth: that I was worthy of love and everything else I desired from life.
I had to allow myself to slowly grow into who I was meant to become.
And I am. One step at a time. But I haven't done it alone. I've had help, support and some really amazing mentors.
And now, I have the joy of mentoring others to be able to love and honor their truth as well. I'm simply the catalyst that helps them remember and believe the truth: They have been worthy of love all along.
If you would like to find out how you can overcome your anxiety, rebuild your self-worth and reach your full potential so you too can have the love and life you truly desire, I invite you to sign up for my free video e-course 5 Hidden Blocks That Sabotage Your Full Potential.
If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.