What is wrong with me?

My muscles were clenched so tightly they started to spasm. My chest, my arms, even my groin area—everything hurt.

It wasn’t the dull achey pain that you feel a couple of days after a tough workout, but a shooting feeling of daggers that would strike your most sensitive regions at any moment. Most of the day, most of my muscles were tight. From moment to moment, it was only a matter of degree.

As a university student at the time, I managed to amble from class to class, taking detailed notes as a way to capture the learning and getting some relief as I threw myself into the subject matter. I enjoyed a handful of my classes—especially those on entrepreneurship and marketing—but somehow, I would later learn, they weren’t distracting or engaging enough for me.

Unlike my preceding two years studying Pure and Applied Science in college, I no longer had equations to struggle with or fascinating new theories to learn. Now, I was learning straightforward business theories and marketing concepts. I also learned finance, stats, and accounting, finding the lot as dry as a wicker basket.

The level of engagement the best of these classes provided was, at times, only slightly higher than reading a self-help book. Funny enough, self-help had become a new obsession of mine—something I had latched onto as a way to deal with this ever-increasing feeling that something was definitely not right with me (a feeling of unease that I couldn’t put my finger on).

Perhaps you’ve had a similar feeling at some time in your life. It might have led you to doctors’ offices, or internet research on WebMD. Perhaps you began to isolate yourself and avoid social situations or even avoid taking on a new job. Maybe you stopped doing sports or dating. You might have begun to avoid certain specific situations that made you uneasy. It’s possible you became overly obsessed with certain behaviours or felt compelled to do things to abate your own own fear and gain a sense of control.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about anxiety and panic attacks.

Most anxiety sufferers don’t even know that they have anxiety, what it is, or how it operates. I didn’t. I found out about it when I picked up a book on Emotional Intelligence at a bookstore in the U.S. while on a family trip.

I had had an argument with an older cousin at a wedding who was pressuring me to go meet other young women and to not waste the opportunity sitting on the sidelines. I regretted my outburst at him. I felt out of control. I wanted to figure out what on earth was wrong with me. It’s only in that book that I learned about the amygdala, anxiety, and panic disorders.

My experience isn’t uncommon. When most people have these feelings and reactions, they think that they have something horribly, horribly wrong with them. They might think they are dying or that they have a serious illness. This, in turn, sends them through a revolving door of doctors’ offices and compulsive behaviours that get in the way of living a normal life.

The video that changed my life (and a recommendation)

If you’re someone who is suffering from anxiety or panic attacks, please check out The Linden Method by Charles Linden, who sells an online program and does retreats out of the UK.

The Linden Method teaches you what anxiety is, how it works, and how to get out of it. It’s a method that works right away and that you can use to completely eliminate your inappropriate fear that is anxiety so that you can live your life again—fully engaged.

This is the video that put me onto his stuff when I had these issues in university. I bought his course, and it changed my life.

Please watch it if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an anxiety or panic disorder. It can help them recover and get back to living a normal life again.

It worked for me. What do you have to lose?