What does it mean to have crippling anxiety and panic attacks?
My guest today is K.C. Poitras. She knows this struggle first hand. She would struggle to leave the house, but with the strength and courage to ask for help, slowly learned how to cope with these feelings.
In this podcast, she describes these events in much more detail, and shares her love for one thing that makes her vulnerable also: being an author. In fact, her current novel was nominated for the Author Elite Award for 2021 in the category of Clean Romance.
Her story is such an example of what happens with continued persistence. Some days, getting out of the house may be all you can do.... but each day that leads you somewhere!
K.C. Poitras- LinkdIn, Instagram, books
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In Good Health!
Welcome to end the rising podcast. My name is Bettina brown, and this is the platform I've chosen to talk about living a life that's in alignment with our hopes or dreams or goals, and actually pursuing it. And I'd like to start off by saying that I am not a licensed counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, but I really love to figure out what makes us tick and how can we help each other. How can we add value to one another? My guest today does a lot of that. She has a history of anxiety and panic attacks. And for her, her interview today, her writing of books has been so powerful. And I really like to welcome Casey portraits to my show. First of all, I just want to thank you for your time today because you offered your time. You offered your experience because you stated you have dealt with anxiety and panic attacks. Yes . And someone with anxiety and panic attacks going on a podcast, talking about anxiety and panic attacks has to be commended for that bravery. I just want to put that out there.Speaker 3:
Thank you. It is stepping outside of my box.Speaker 2:
It is. It is. And you, you know, you're going to share your story with me, with my listeners. And you know, you talk about a lot of things I wanted to, to just say something back to you that you wrote to me, you said you faced anxiety and panic attacks daily growing stronger, but then you struggled with the pandemic. Can you go a little bit more into where you went with that?Speaker 3:
Well, as I was growing stronger and getting my feedback, being able to go out and enjoy the world, it shuts down. So then I felt like I got to a place again where I wasn't comfortable going out again. So it kind of put me back a little.Speaker 2:
Okay. And, you know, I know people who have panic attacks who feel a lot of anxiety, but I have personally never really experienced that on a regular basis. Why don't you go into a little bit, like when this started for you?Speaker 3:
Um, it started about 10 years ago and it just progressively got worse. I would get in a car to drive somewhere and I'd have to pull over because I felt like I was just going to have a heart attack or, you know, black out. Um, I would get , go to go to the grocery store and probably nine times out of 10, I would end up back home or I would circle to go home and then go chop , talk myself into going back. And sometimes I would make it to the store. Sometimes I wouldn't, sometimes I would go home and just wait for it to pass and go back to the store and run through the store to get what I needed to get back home as quickly as I could. It's just very, very life changing .Speaker 2:
Yeah . Cause you described crippling anxiety and panic attacks, but hearing your description of just how the, how the grocery storeSpeaker 3:
It's difficult .Speaker 2:
Yeah. It really puts a new perspective on the word crippling because that's exactly what you've been through. Right. Were there any events that kind of sparked this for you?Speaker 3:
Um, I don't think so. I think it was a , my mom kind of suffered the same thing and it was just more of a, I think it over time of just different things that happened in my life that built up to that,Speaker 2:
To that . What , what, how do you go from a place where you're not able to go to the grocery store to, to healing? Like what avenuesSpeaker 3:
Did you wonderful. A wonderful counselor and I've been to many and one lady just when my life was at the worst , um, she just gave me things to do like pay attention to your five senses, you know, to get out of your head when the panic attack starts and just, just different , um, activities to focus on. And it was with our help that I've literally drove from Virginia to Florida by myself, you know, Joe, and that's a feat when I couldn't even get to the grocery stores.Speaker 2:
Right. And so when you met this counselor, did you know on that first visit that this was going to be a different experience for you? Yeah,Speaker 3:
I did. Yep .Speaker 2:
She did . Was she, was she recommended, did you look up a certain type of counseling or?Speaker 3:
Um, I actually, I was on , um , public system at that time, so I have only had a handful that I could go to and I just happened to, you know, I knew I needed to get out of bed to go see somebody else had just went through a 20 year marriage that broke up and I was, you know , staying at my mom's and it was like, I had two twin kids and had to, you know, suck it up for them. So I made an appointment and I was fortunate to land at her, her table.Speaker 2:
Wow . And is she someone that you saw like once a week? Once every two weeks.Speaker 3:
Once a week. Once a week for about six weeks.Speaker 2:
Okay. So in six weeks time she made a phenomenal difference with her tactics for you?Speaker 3:
Yes . Yeah . Yeah .Speaker 2:
And with everything that you said, like your mom's kind of been through it when you were living with your mom and going through this yourself, did that kind of, did that build it up for you a little bit more or was itSpeaker 3:
No, I think it was about the same. I mean, my mom was a huge supporter of , uh, you know, getting help, getting me help. Um, I kind of really crashed and burned when the marriage ended and the counselor, you know, she's like 20 years, it's like, you have to mourn it like a debt , you know, shocking. So it was, it was a tough time and , but it also on the flip side, it made me a much, much stronger person.Speaker 2:
Um, so for example, because I do know some people who are, you know, they'll have this anxiety or literally, you know , people close to me when you said the five senses, can you kind of walk someone through that? Like what, what does that really mean?Speaker 3:
Oh , for me it meant what a panic attack was coming on. I would , uh, look around, you know, what's around you if mine was driving. So she would tell me to focus on my foot on the gas pedal. Right. You know, focus on what my foot was doing. What am I hearing? What do I smell? Um, you know, I listened to the radio and a lot of times I would have to just turn the radio off because it just distracted me too much. And , um, just I'd roll down the window, you know, and just try to get some fresh air. So it just took me, you know, the five senses just kind of took me out of my head of that moment of the panic attack.Speaker 2:
Yeah . You know, I've, I've read about things like that, where that panic and anxiety is about future events, that we may not be processing that we're not processing the now. And it sounds like in those five senses, she's pulling you back into the present moment with addressing that because that's really the only place we have any power is right now, this instance .Speaker 3:
Right, right. Yeah.Speaker 2:
That's a really good technique. I've never heard that described before. That's really good. And so you also said that you have gone further out of your box, not just with this podcast guests interview, but into writing. How did you get to that?Speaker 3:
I have always wanted to write my story and I still have not done that, but I did , um, with the pandemic and with man my dreams, he was like, no , what were homebound ? You wanted to write , go for it. So I went forward and it took me about three weeks to write my first sentence because I just kept procrastinating. Like, I don't know. And then it was like day after day and it just got more exciting. Right . And a lot of my story is in error . Some of it , uh, not more current story, you know, and some about the fighting depression and , you know, panic attacks , um, that's in there, but it's a good story. It's based on, you know, me finding someone at 50 when I thought life was over, I would just, I was just in the dialogue , you know, after the marriage. So,Speaker 2:
So it sounds like there's just , uh , a vision of , of hope with everything. Yes,Speaker 3:
Yes, absolutely. Yep . ProcessSpeaker 2:
Of, are you, are you going to self publish or are you still writing?Speaker 3:
It is published that book. He told me what it feels like a bond love that's published , um, Sunday or Monday. I'm not quite sure yet. Um , my second book will go on pre-sale and I'm working on my third book.Speaker 2:
Oh, excellent. Tell me about your second and your third one.Speaker 3:
My second book is about a little boy that , um, got taken from his father by his mother, unknown to out of the states to another country. And then two years later , he was two. At that time, two years later, his mom flew him back to America, to live with his dad and talks about his journey and , um , abusive step-mom.Speaker 2:
Okay. And with that story , um, are you pulling from some experiences of friends, family into that story with you ? And do you feel like it's adding a little more to your healing process of just bringing it out and two books published when you were, you know, just a few years ago, afraid even get to the grocery store, like that's phenomenal. You're putting your name out there and to do that as a , a place of extreme vulnerability.Speaker 3:
Yes, it is. It it's scary. It's like everybody's reading these words, you know?Speaker 2:
Yes. And they know who they're from. And how do you like thinking about where you are right now to where you were then? Like what, what do you feel was your inner fire to move you forward to move you into a place where you wanted to change your life?Speaker 3:
I would say it was when I got to a place where I had nothing except for the twins and my family was far away. My husband was gone and , uh, it was just like, okay. I mean , when , when , when I left from Virginia, my mom's famous, last words were, suck it up, buttercup. You know , she wasn't happy that I was moving back to Florida. So I sucked it up and I mean , not even have a vehicle, so I would draw , I would walk. I mean , the twins would walk. Your birth to twins were in school. I would walk two miles to, you know, sign up for work. And, you know, I had a church that helped some and I was just determined. And I think meeting Eric was my changing point in life where he just makes me want to be a better person.Speaker 2:
Yes. Okay. And so, you know, sometimes we meet people that we get to be in a, in a, in a relationship with, and sometimes we meet friends and family. What, what qualities does he have that you think helped bring change your life? There you areSpeaker 3:
Totally different background. He is 1000% different than any man I've ever known. Um, he is just polite. Um, he opens the car door. He's a gentleman. He's just a true gentleman.Speaker 2:
Do you think that helped you kind of feel like you were more of a woman?Speaker 3:
Yes, yes. Yeah . And he always tells me I'm deserved .Speaker 2:
That's awesome. Because you know, what I like to talk about on this podcast is, you know, to rise up to , to have the life that you dream of envision walking away from shame and blame and with anxiety and panic attacks, there is a lot of shame. We don't talk about it and go into hiding with things to know that you are deserving it really, and having that feedback from other people, it really does change your perspective and helps these symptoms of anxiety, of have difficulty relaxing start to subside.Speaker 3:
Yes. Yeah. And it has opened up a whole new world for me. I mean, I've met some wonderful neighbors that are great friends , girlfriends. I mean, they just came over this morning for a promotion . You know, we had a black , you know , a good time talking and it was fun and it has opened up a lot of freedom and just happiness. So hi dad , I don't feel like I'm being held back.Speaker 2:
Those are, those are interesting words. You don't feel you're being held back. Um, do you feel that some of the being held back came from you that were you holding yourself back in your own past, you think?Speaker 3:
Um , yeah. Yeah, definitely. I was allowing others to hold him back, so I have to take that responsibility. Yeah .Speaker 2:
And , uh, you know, I was going into another guest, the difference between allowing and acceptance, right. Changing that perspective of allowing others to have this control because we have responsibility. Absolutely. Yep . Yep . Do you feel as, and again, I'm just, I'm just asking you how your , how your perceptive is that as you have allowed yourself to be in control over your life, that some of your anxiety and panic attacks have subsided somewhat.Speaker 3:
Yes, I do. I think that helped a lot. Um, I still, you know, have my moments where I get a little anxious. Um, but I just, I worked through it.Speaker 2:
That's amazing. That's amazing. What say you meet someone who's in that place right now. What, what would you tell them from your own experience from full heart, Debbie,Speaker 3:
First off, breathe, just breathe and, you know, think of anything. Don't think don't try to find symptoms in your body. And, but think , you know, look around, you see what's happening, pull over. If you need to, you know, breathe and try to look around and know you're in a beautiful place in the world, you know, wherever you're at, there's always beauty to be found .Speaker 2:
That's true. That's true. And what if that person says, well, I'm breathing, but I feel so much shame with my condition. What do you say to that person?Speaker 3:
Talk about it. The more you talk about it, easier to talk, talk to someone about it. Maybe someone that doesn't understand, or maybe someone that does one there's many, many millions of people out here that suffer from the same thing. It's not common. It's just talked about a lot.Speaker 2:
Do you feel that with like this podcast, your books, that you're trying to change that from being a non talked about topic toSpeaker 3:
Absolutely. I would love it. My book helps one person I'm happy.Speaker 2:
Yeah. It's really amazing work that you've, you've done with, with being , um, you know, out now, what do you feel like your purpose in life is just in , in general from what your background was?Speaker 3:
Um, you know what I, I like to ride to help people, but I also want it to be entertaining and light. So, you know, I just, I guess my purpose is just to touch people's lives and make a difference.Speaker 2:
Well, I absolutely think with your stories , um, with your description of your anxiety, how this one therapist made a difference. Um , you know, it sounds like we, we, we take for granted or we don't think about the difference one person can make and the downward chain and the, you know, the consequences that she made an impact on you. You're writing this book, you're on podcast . You're , you're putting your name out there, you're changing other people's lives and you're helping continue that chain of events of positivity into the world.Speaker 3:
Brian , one book at a time, oneSpeaker 2:
At a time. Do you feel that , um, being a writer is like now your creative outlet to, to dealing with certain things or are you doing other things as well? Well ,Speaker 3:
Um, yeah, I think writing's definitely helped me work through some things and I will eventually put my complete story out there and just, that's just a little too close to home still, but yeah, it has been very therapeutic.Speaker 2:
Okay. What do you tell your daughters like, you know, with , with the time of your life, with that anxiety, what do you tell them now about how you've grown or what you've learned? Um,Speaker 3:
I just really, I try to, you know, set a good example. I try to let them know that they're loved no matter why they're loved and it's okay to be scared. It's okay to talk about your feelings. And I told my son the same thing. So sometime everybody needs help. Sometimes everyoneSpeaker 2:
Needs help. And that is absolutely true, no matter what we're dealing with, whether it is something emotional or physical, moving, anything at all, sometimes everyone needs help and I actually would need your help too. So if this podcast or this episode was really helpful, beneficial to you, I encourage you to share it and also leave a five-star review. It helps this podcastSpeaker 1:
Just grow and reach so many more people. And until next time let's keep building one [inaudible] .