Story Time!!! This might be helpful for anyone that suffers with anxiety/panic attacks. I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder back in 2006. My panic attacks were so bad that I’d often wind up in the emergency room totally convinced that I was dying and my anxiety in and of itself was so bad that I always felt neurotic… I refused to be more than a few miles from a hospital “just in case” I had a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, allergic reaction, etc, despite being in perfect health and I refused to drive anywhere out of town by myself in case I ended up starting to die and needed someone else to drive. Anyway, despite CBT, medications, positive self-talk, and even a stint in the psych ward, I’d still always feel anxious and get panic attacks, even though I knew damn well the entire physiology behind them and that it’s a positive feedback loop. I felt defeated after 7 years of dealing with it. It wreaked havoc on my jobs, my friends, and my family, and I got more and more depressed. Finally back in April, a friend of mine in Los Angeles (I’m in Ohio) and his husband offered to fly me out to visit for a week, all expenses paid. They wanted to take me around LA, Vegas, and Santa Monica. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I haven’t left the area (let alone Ohio) since I was 16. My anxiety really got to me and filled me up with the “what ifs” What if my apartment gets broken into? What if I’m out there and end up dying and none of my family can help me? What if something happens here at home and I can’t get back? and so on. After thinking it over for a week, I decided I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity, no matter how bad my anxiety was, so even though I was scared shitless, I decided to go. It was my first time on an airplane, my first time being so far from home, and the first time I left Ohio in 11 years. I had a panic attack on the drive to the airport (which was an hour drive on the interstate) and was sooooo tempted to turn around and go home, but I forced myself through it, determined I wasn’t going to let my anxiety rule my life anymore. I got on the plane and as it started to taxi down the runway, my anxiety spiked again. I was writhing in my seat as the plane started going faster and faster, clutching my anti-anxiety medicine and thinking about taking double the dose so it would knock me out. We got up into the air when the thoughts started up again. What if the plane crashes? What if the engine goes out? What if I have a heart attack or a stroke and nobody can help me? What if the pilot has a heart attack? Oh my god I’m gonna die… when it hit me. If any of that stuff happened, there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I was in a giant steel tube flying a mile up in the air. My mom died of a freak brain aneurysm in 2011, an hour after I talked to her and she was just fine. There weren’t any signs or symptoms of it, but she died. If it’s your time to die then it’s your time to die, so I might as well quit worrying about shit I can’t control, trust the pilot to get me where I’m going, look out the window, and enjoy the view. The flight was awesome. Flying across the country was an amazing experience and it was so beautiful looking out the window and seeing the landscape change underneath me. The trip was the best vacation I’ve ever taken in my life and I got to experience new and amazing things that I never would’ve if I let my anxiety conquer me. I got to see the desert, the valley, the Pacific Ocean, the bright lights of Vegas… it was a life changing experience. And I didn’t have a single panic attack the entire time. I’ve carried that mindset with me ever since that trip and I haven’t had a single panic attack in 8 months. I decided to trust the pilot (God) to get me where I’m going, quit trying to control everything because shit happens, and just enjoy the view… enjoy life.