Anxiety as an Ally: How I Turned a Worried Mind into My Best Friend
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After experiencing his first panic attack on New Year's Day of 2003, Dan Ryckert began a 12-year process of learning how to channel panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder until they became driving forces in his life. Using anxiety as his ally, he was able to land dream jobs within the video game industry and vastly improve the quality of his personal life.
In this candid recollection, you'll learn about how he went from having panic attacks during college roll calls to speaking in front of large crowds with minimal interference from anxiety. More importantly, Ryckert details the methods in which he channelled these once-negative conditions until they became a driving force in his life and something he wouldn't get rid of even if he was given the chance.
physically unhealthy I had ever been. Forget the "freshman 15," as I had spent the first few years of college going from 155 pounds to 196. It certainly wasn't muscle, as I never exercised and was quickly growing a beer gut thanks to my now-frequent partying. Once I decided to start being more mindful about decisions regarding my health, I made a promise to myself that I'd never hit 200 pounds (a promise that I've successfully kept to this day). I was still years away from learning smart ways to
up. Throughout college, I applied to every open position I saw from any gaming outlet I had ever heard of. I went through numerous interviews, but was repeatedly told to get back in touch with them after I had gotten my degree. Once I graduated, I had plenty of contacts within the industry but there were no open positions to shoot for. In the weeks before I was set to move back to Kansas City from Lawrence (my college town), I spent a lot of time debating what I should do. My degree was in Film
incident that occurred just a week prior. In almost the exact same situation, the feelings of dread popped up near the end. The same shallow breathing, the same rapid heart rate, the same sweaty face and palms. Again, I rushed out of the theater and took refuge in the same bathroom stall. This is where I really started to worry, as it surely wasn't a coincidence. Why did this feeling seem to overtake my body twice, in the exact same situation? Was I doomed to miss the climax of every movie for
easier to get out of chairs, to climb staircases, and even get motivated to get out of bed in the morning instead of hitting the snooze button. I also continued to teach myself new ways to keep myself in check when it came to my health. Having set goals always helped me, so I signed up for 5K runs and (later) 10Ks months in advance. Considering that these registrations usually cost $50 or more, I hoped that my frugal nature would override my laziness and keep me on track to be ready for them.
up and being active would help shake me out of this funk. I asked my friends if they wanted to go see Adaptation, and part of me wondered if these attacks were somehow spurred on by seeing movies in theaters. This all sounds insane now, but I was grasping at straws for any kind of explanation. The initial attack happened at a movie, and the follow-up was during another movie, so that's about as much of a connection as I had seen up to that point. If it happened a third time, then I could be