Kelli Walker, R.N., M.S.N.
Certified Health and wellness coach
Hi, I'm Kelli and I love nutella, hiking, my dogs, sweatpants and traveling. But here's something a little more personal - I was a panic and anxiety sufferer for 15 years. For me, panic attacks and anxiety would come in fits and starts during major life changes, like buying a house or starting a new job, or during periods of high stress, like the end of a school semester or the holiday season. For many years, panic and anxiety were annoying but manageable. They didn't stop me from living my life, but made it incredibly uncomfortable and challenging at times. I generally coped with my panic and anxiety by “running away from it.” I changed majors or jobs or I moved apartments, and for a time, those rough coping measures worked, and I “got by.”
However, a few years ago, those old coping methods simply stopped working. I could no longer keep “running away,” and my anxiety and panic attacks struck with a vengeance. I was completely housebound for several months as I was plagued by fears of death, of going crazy, and of “disappearing.” Not to mention the physical symptoms like extreme fatigue, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, insomnia, muscle weakness, and many more.
My life in those dark times consisted of a vicious cycle of dreadful thoughts and terrifying physical sensations, thoughts and sensations so powerful my life ground to a halt. No more work. No more traveling. No more meeting friends for drinks. Doctor’s had little to offer besides medications with a host of unfavorable side-effects that I personally wasn't interested in taking long term. Expensive therapy sessions always seemed to “miss the point” and never focused on sustainable solutions to overcoming my panic and anxiety, only "coping methods". No doctor or therapist or friend seemed to understand what I was feeling, much less how to overcome it. I felt alone and hopeless, I was scared that I would have to endure anxiety for a lifetime.
Rock bottom finally (and mercifully) came one morning when I was too terrified by my physical sensations and anxious thoughts to get up. I thought that if I stepped out of bed, I would die. No place was safe from panic and anxiety anymore. Not even bed. In that moment, my body and mind experienced complete acceptance; living in fear was simply not worth it. If I died getting out of bed, so be it. This turning point is when I started my bumpy, yet enlightening, journey toward the meaningful life I live now… complete with all the emotions it means to be human.
I initially spent a lot of time searching for “the anxiety cure,” that single trick, that single method, that single approach that would eliminate my panic and anxiety. Through my search, I learned the hard but valuable truth: moving past anxiety is an inside out revolution. Sure, certain foods, exercises, and supplements are helpful but ultimately they're not THE answer. Spoiler alert: Moving past anxiety is much more about understanding than it is “doing” the “right” thing.
The answer to moving past anxiety and toward a meaningful life, believe it or not, already lies within you. With the proper knowledge, guidance, support, and readiness it's possible for me or you or anybody to truly move past anxiety and panic attacks. I am here to help you along your journey in doing just that.