I am not thinking of yesterday or the day before. I am driving home with my car filled with flowers for spring. My thoughts are on all the glorious color that will brighten my world. All of the sudden, the car seems to be closing in on me. My heart is racing and this feeling of doom sets in: Anxiety.

There are no cars around me. The road is clear. The light is green but I cannot go.

This feeling is so strange, so unexpected but it washes over me making it impossible to move. Horns are now honking as I slowly push the accelerator. I am only two miles from home. Instead I stopped and call a friend who dropped everything. She drove me to her house. She knew.

Life’s “pile on’s” had finally caught up with me! I had just had my thyroid removed, was menopausal, my son had just been diagnosed with a serious mental condition, my Dad had passed away from a long battle with Alzheimers, our home life was a mess, and the final straw – my sister committed suicide.

My friend recognized the train had run over me and my brain had been hijacked leaving me with feelings of helplessness. My first panic attack followed by several others stopped me …dead in my tracks.  Each day became hour-to-hour, and then a day at a time as my doctor prescribed some much-needed medications.

For one year, I followed the doctor’s orders, willing myself to stay busy. Gradually, the fog lifted as I got off the train onto a platform that was steady.

I cannot go backwards, undo the struggles of life but see it for what it is. I had to make some changes, set boundaries, and start recognizing tell-tale signs of the loud roar of that train rolling down the tracks at breaking speed. Slowdown, step back, find a better path, and put my hands up and say “Stop,” before the train runs over me.

I am fine now, I think. Each day, I start my day with a thankful heart. The sounds in my head are no longer the roar of a fast train, but more the slow-down version of myself.