Most of the panic attacks I have as an adult have something to do with money.
Sometimes the trigger is an unexpected expense. Other times it’s because I spent too long thinking about my debt. And of course there are the times when contracts fail to materialize or clients don’t pay me on time or at all.
While I never feel prepared for a panic attack, I have gotten better at walking myself through them. I focus on my breathing, on relaxing my body, and on acknowledging my thoughts without spinning them out more.
Usually, I just try to survive my money-related panic attacks. Sometimes, however, I am able to find clarity amidst what is otherwise an extremely painful experience.
My most recent panic attack brought me into uncomfortably close proximity with the main fear I have around money: I am deeply afraid that I will not be able to change my money story.
It’s been almost a year since I moved home to sort out my finances. And while I have made progress with paying down my debt and creating financial stability, I still have a long way to go.
On top of feeling discouraged about where I am financially, being at home has forced me to confront the origins of my money story. So, yesterday when I collided with that narrative head on—in combination with a stressful writing client situation—a panic attack was inevitable.
Once the panic had given way and I could breathe again, I sat down and wrote out the first draft of this blog post. I turn to writing for most forms of processing and this time was not different.
In the writing of this post, I reminded myself that my money story is already vastly different from that of my past. And, at the end of the day, all I can do is take that next step toward the financial stability that I’m longing for.
I can’t say that I felt immediately better in the moment even after writing things out. I did, however, feel calmer knowing that I had spent some time sitting with that money fear and that it had not destroyed me.
Money fear is real. And I think that there’s something to be learned from it if you can are able to spend even a few breaths listening to what it has to say.
So, what are you afraid of when it comes to money?