If you arrived at this blog, this is Part II. Click here for Part I
In the previous blog I mentioned I was in Target when I started having a panic attack. I put it all together that day, It seemed as though I was getting the majority of these attacks when I was away from home. I remember my Mother mentioned a few times that she had Agoraphobia which she explained at the time was basically a fear of being away from home. I thought about it and it the fact that many of my attacks seemed to happen when I was at a store, the issue was in my mind and not in my heart! I decided that day that I wanted to be in control. Realizing I was having a panic attack, I decided to walk the inner four walls of Target until I beat the feeling. and so I did.
It was great calling the doctor and letting him know that I think I have solved my medical mystery. During my next appointment he gave me a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication and while I hate taking as much as an aspirin, I thought this would help me to not experience these attacks ever again.
Shortly after that day, I searched my local area for a trail. I tossed on a pair of hiking boots and set out to “clear my mind”. I wasn’t really sure what to expect that day. I arrived at West Hills County Park in the Melville/Huntington area of Long Island at around 10am and stepped foot on the trails there. Within 100 yards I found a sign that informed me that the famous Poet Walt Whitman hiked the very trails that I would be hiking on. I had no trail map, I had no direction and that was fine with me. I was set to lose the old me in the woods.
The hike was great, the birds chirped throughout, chipmunks and squirrels rustled around looking for food. Mountain Laurels were in bloom. Any boredom was quickly distinguished with the eye candy nature offered me. Every step I took, my eyes saw something different. I went through Mt Misery (No seriously, I did, Folklore Here! The name alone seemed fitting to my situation. As I continued walking up a hill, I get to the end of a steep incline and walk a ways. I then find a rather beautiful overlook, it is called Jayne’s Hill.
Beautiful, breathtaking, overlooking the park, it is said to be one of the highest points on Long Island. On the way back I cross paths with an old man, he asked me if I had seen the foxes playing in the woods but I hadn’t. He mentioned they are afraid of humans but if I walk silently sometimes you can see them in the woods. (Years later during my hike at Teddy Roosevelt County Park, I was literally surrounded by them!)
Having no watch and not caring about time, I did start feeling the burn of my thighs. It was time to head back to the car… where ever that was, lol, and head back home. It was around 4pm, 6 hours on the trails! I left the old overwhelmed, angry, stressed out “Dave” in the woods and returned with the new “Dave”. I fully prescribe a walk in the woods to sooth the nerves!
As it turned out, I only took the medication my doctor prescribed for a few months because I wanted to be in control of my own mind. When I find times are getting stressful, I dedicate time to losing that stress with a walk in the woods. Over the years those walks turned to bike rides, running, meditating and just taking time out to enjoy the world we live in. There is no longer a need to suffer. From time to time, the feeling of panic sometimes sets in but I recognize it for what it is now and work with it.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed and panicked, don’t hide it. Friends and family are there to help. I can say this years removed, be bigger than it and take control.