Written by Wendy Tamis Robbins. Narrated by Marie T. Russell.
Two weeks after separating from my first husband, I booked a bus tour through Italy, my first trip alone. Just two years prior, my anxiety, obsessive compulsive and panic attack disorders had become so intense and all-consuming they rendered me agoraphobic. But then I found sufficient help to pick myself up off the floor (literally) and start managing and hiding my symptoms enough to function.
I asked for a divorce in part because the relationship didn’t have space for my mental health issues; he didn’t understand and dismissed them, which only made things worse. I realized that in trying to create a picture-perfect life—husband, house, dog, career—to feel safe and hide my secrets, what I’d really created was a prison.
Breaking free from my marriage was just the first step. Suddenly alone, this trip was an attempt at exposure therapy. It wasn’t that formal at the time; no psychiatrist prescribed or labeled it as such. It was my own attempt to find the walls of my prison and push their boundaries.
In Rome, I met my tour director and hopped on the bus with racing heart and sweating palms. What have I done? ...
Continue Reading at InnerSelf.com (plus audio/mp3 version of article)
Read by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Music By Caffeine Creek Band, Pixabay
About the Author
Wendy Tamis Robbins, author of The Box: An Invitation to Freedom from Anxiety, is a lawyer by day, writer by night, and a “professional panic attacker.” Despite near-crippling anxiety, she worked her way through Dartmouth College and law school before, in her 30s, she set her mind to overcoming the anxiety and panic attacks that increasingly limited her life. For the past 20 years she has worked in corporate finance, creating and preserving affordable housing and lending to underserved communities.
Learn more at www.WendyTamisRobbins.com.