An Honest Conversation about Anxiety

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It is 2:35 in the f^^king morning, and I am wide awake. I am wide awake and I am sobbing. Silently sobbing of course, so as not to disturb my husband and dog who are both peacefully snoring next to me.

Assholes.

Simple. I am an entrepreneur who has anxiety, that's why.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental illnesses, affecting 40 million adults ages 18 and over. (according to the ADAA)

Yet when you suffer from anxiety, you feel like you are the only one on the entire planet that has that issue.

I have always struggled with anxiety, just never really knew it until about 6 years ago when I had my first panic attack on the subway and it felt like the monster from Stranger Things was setting up shop in my entire body and he was planning on staying awhile. (Yes, my anxiety is a HE, because why wouldn't he be? ) For those of you who don't know, a panic attack basically feels like you are going to die.

So here I am 6 years later and 4 months into starting my own Career Coaching & Consulting business. Kicking corporate life to the curb and saying "hey world, you don't get to make all of the decisions for me... I am living my own life now." My decision to do this was actually born out of a panic attack. (#meta) I was walking home from work and had received a big promotion 2 weeks earlier. I should have been jumping for joy, but instead found myself sobbing on a street corner in Astoria. (Sensing a pattern, are we?)

It was after that moment that I realized that I needed to use this panic attack as intel and start listening to myself and what I really wanted. What I wanted was to be fulfilled. I spent the next year going down a path of self discovery with my own career coach and really being honest with myself.

I realized how much my job defined me, and not in a good way. 

I was becoming a person that I wasn't proud of anymore.

That shit sucks.

What I am about to tell you isn't glamorous at all.

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In fact, it might seem like I am talking you out of taking that leap; whatever that may be. I have had many a sleepless night since starting this business. Where will I get clients? How will I make money? Do people even care about this shit? Am I going to fail? What will people think if I fail? These thoughts go through my head every day, like the announcements made on the subway screens. 

The fact of the matter is, while I feel so liberated and so proud of myself for taking this risk, I still have that very obnoxious voice in the back of my head telling me I am not cut out for this. And for a brief moment in time, I believe that voice and start googling jobs online.

And then I slam my f^^king computer shut, because I am NOT going down like that. I am stronger and better than that.

Do not hide behind your anxiety, but embrace it. Talk about it. Build a network. Don't be ashamed. There are so many women having panic attacks on the subway. We need each other.

I wish I had an actionable to do list for you to take away from this piece on how to not let your anxiety get in the way of your dreams and your day to day. The fact is, there is no special sauce. What I have found is building and keeping a strong community of women around me who get it.

If I could give you one piece of advice it would be just that. Do not hide behind your anxiety, but embrace it. Talk about it. Build a network. Don't be ashamed. There are so many women having panic attacks on the subway. We need each other.

Isn't it interesting that the anxiety that I once felt paralyzed me from taking this leap, actually helped fuel my inner strength to finally do it? How badass is that?

After writing this, I’m fairly confident  I will get my full 8 hours of sleep tonight.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tiffany Dyba is a dedicated career coach and consultant based in New York City. She enjoys helping people realize their professional calling, and works with organizations to identify and attract top talent so they can effectively grow their business. As a career coach, Tiffany helps her clients navigate career changes and transitions so they feel fulfilled and enjoy success at work. Prior to this, Tiffany spent more than a decade working on recruitment teams for brands such as Burberry and Tiffany & Co.