Today is the one year anniversary of the worst panic attack of my life, it’s also the anniversary of the beginning of my life completely changing. That sounds over dramatic, but it’s true.
For a long time I have been too embarrassed to talk about this. I’m an open book in almost every aspect but when it comes to this topic I feel so much shame and embarrassment that I’ve never had the courage to talk about it. but in the name of vulnerability and oversharing, I’ve decided it’s finally time to open up. Yikes
If you didn’t know, I have pretty severe anxiety, I used to get panic attacks almost daily but over the last couple of years I’ve managed to figure it out and get it mostly under control, all by myself with out medication(!!!!) In fact, I rarely have panic attacks anymore! However a year ago today I had my worst one to date.
I have always been heavy, and for most of growing up I have been bullied for being fat, and for having a large butt/thighs. It started in elementary and carried on all through out high school. I remember putting on my cheer uniform and crying before our first home game because I was so scared people were going to call me “the fat cheerleader” and make fun of me.
Because of all this, my legs have always been my biggest insecurity (hell, they still are).
Last year I was at my heaviest. I was changing my clothes to go on a date with my then boyfriend and none of my pants fit me. I hadn’t realized how heavy I had gotten until that moment. I didn’t even recognize myself.
I started crying and then started having a panic attack, I felt like I didn’t know the body I was in. I had always hated my body, and had always felt “fat and gross” but I had never been this large.
I wanted to rip the fat off my body. My body did not feel like my own. It’s hard to explain but if you’ve been there you’ll understand. In my panic attack I actually started trying to claw the fat off my thighs. I was sobbing and slammed my hands down on my dresser out of pure rage and hopelessness. I hit my dresser so hard it actually bent my favorite ring that I was wearing. I couldn’t pull myself together.
The next day I woke up and saw the marks I had left on my own body. I was horrified. I had never hurt myself before. In that moment I knew something desperately needed to change.
I have always worked out, I’ve done lots of cardio, “lifted” kind of, and spent lots of time crying in the gym parking lot because I felt so intimidated and because I hated myself so much.
I’ve never seen the results I’ve wanted. My mindset has always been “I have to fix this” or “this is a punishment because you are fat and disgusting” my self talk was horrific.
The morning after my panic attack I realized my mind set HAD TO CHANGE. I stopped focusing on what I hated about my body and how much I wanted change everything about it and started focusing on what my body could do instead. Let me repeat that because it is so important;
I stopped focusing on what I hated and wanted to change about my body and started focusing on what my body could do.
It wasn’t easy, it was a long incredibly hard process to let go of all my negative self talk but it changed my freaking life. I honestly cannot believe how horribly I used to talk about myself. It genuinely makes me so sad!!!
This last year has been a journey of finding peace with my body, and learning self love and I am so grateful. I love my body, I am proud of my body, I am grateful for my body and all that it can do. I am confident and I love myself. I have NEVER been able to truthfully say that before, even typing that out is making me tear up, I have come so far!
I have learned that it’s not about how I look, it’s not about how much I weigh, it’s about pushing myself to accomplish new things. The thing that helped me the most was training for the 5k I ran in September, I am not a runner and I honestly could barely run a mile at the time. I had to train to run a dumb 5k but it pushed me so much. It showed me what I was capable of. From there my passion for fitness blossomed.
Yes along the way results have come, and I have found a love for the gym I never knew was possible. I used to use the gym as punishment and now it’s my favorite part of my day. Nothing makes me feel more confident and bad ass than lifting heavy weights. Truthfully everything I’ve learned about lifting has been self taught within the last year, so I’m probably not doing it right, but I am obsessed. Nothing makes me feel better than a good lift, I have turned into a bro.
While I am so proud of myself for the physical changes I’ve made, I am especially proud of the enormous mental growth I’ve achieved.
Now if you’ve gotten this far you’re probably thinking, Jessica shut up and stop bragging no one cares. That’s not why I’m writing this.
I’m writing this because I hated myself so much it quite literally was all I could think about all day long. I’m writing this because I was too embarrassed to talk about how much I had hated myself. I’m writing this because I never thought it would be possible to love myself. Most importantly I’m writing this because I know there are other people that feel this way and if nothing else I want you to know you aren’t alone and you can push through it. It is possible and it is okay to love yourself.
It’s not about weight, it’s not about big thighs, it’s not about whatever “thing” it is that you don’t like about yourself. It’s about learning to accept yourself and not only come to peace with yourself but truly learning to love yourself.
At this point I’ve rambled on for like 40 years but please just remember to be kind to yourself.
And yes, if you were wondering (you probably weren’t, it’s okay) the reason I have “be kind” tattooed on my arm is not about being kind to others- which yes is a great message. It’s actually a constant reminder to be kind to myself. Because for so many years I wasn’t. I have spent so many years being a straight up bully to myself, that when I finally started to talk positively and with love toward myself I never wanted to go back. So I have a little tattoo because sometimes I still need reminding.
Originally this post was going to be used for some type of before/after reveal for my “new and improved” body. However I have learned it’s not about that at all, and doing so would miss the point completely. Yes those photos are impressive to look at side by side but this post is not the place for that. Losing weight has nothing to do with journey I took to finding self love, that was just a side effect from finally treating myself with kindness and respect.
Okay I’m done, if you’ve taken nothing away from this long boring blog post, please, please, please just be kind to yourself. Love yourself the way God loves you, that’s all.
Happy 1 year anniversary to worst panic attack of my life, I am so thankful for this year and all it has taught me.
and if you finished my long winded rambling essay, thank you for reading, I am nervous to put this out into the world and I feel absolutely naked after writing this. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have typed this out and deleted it.