Here’s how therapy helped this young girl tackle anxiety and frequent panic attacks

Meet Bhawna Mehta - a lifestyle and food influencer. Five years ago, on a family trip, Bhawna fell sick and couldn’t eat anything, and post her diagnosis of an ovarian cyst, she dealt with severe anxiety. Here’s her story.
anxiety and panic attack
Therapy helps majorly with anxiety and panic attacks. Image courtesy: Bhawana Mehta
Reader Submission Updated: 2 May 2021, 11:10 am IST
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My name is Bhawna Mehta, and I am 24 years old. I just completed my post-graduation, and I am a food and lifestyle influencer on Instagram. I’m from Delhi and the health issue that I have recovered from is post-operative anxiety, which was diagnosed after I underwent surgery for an ovarian cyst. 

A family trip changed my life

It all started in 2015. I was with my family in Vaishno Devi when I got sick and was barely able to eat anything. After coming back to Delhi, my parents got me admitted to a hospital. Since my condition didn’t get any better, the doctors ran various tests, and suspected that I might have cancer.

I was first misdiagnosed with cancer

To get a second opinion, my parents took me to a gynaecologist, who made us believe that I have stage four cancer with three to four months left to live. The ground shattered, not just for me, but for my parents as well. My parents, though, didn’t stop there; we went to another doctor to get it checked again. Eventually, I was told I didn’t have cancer. It was just after surgery, when the cyst was removed that it made me think of how one gynaecologist, just to earn money, left my parents in a state of shock, and turned our lives upside down. 

This illness took a toll on me

After that, I lost all my self-confidence and started suffering from anxiety. When I first got diagnosed, I started to think that my condition will never get better. And everything went downhill after that at night, or I would say, while looking at my stitches in the mirror. I would get anxious, panic-stricken, and even felt breathless at times.

anxiety and panic attack
Meet Bhawana

To be honest, I was not able to handle my feelings. I used to get irritated easily, cry over small things and felt so demotivated to do anything. I felt a constant need for someone to be there with me all the time, someone to talk to, and someone who I could rely on. I became a dependent person, and all this eventually became toxic. 

I started therapy with hesitation

I started therapy, when my condition wasn’t getting any better. At first, I hesitated to take the plunge, as I was not comfortable sharing my feelings with a stranger. But after my friend asked me to at least try it out once, I finally agreed to give it a shot. 

And to my surprise, it worked. Not only I was able to share my feelings, but I also listened to her and did the homework. She told me my recovery period was hard. At first, I resisted therapy, but with the support of my friends and family, I made it. 

Changes in my life after I started seeing with therapy

The first change that I made in my life was to stop looking for excuses and start chasing my dreams. So I started my Instagram page, which kept me motivated and happy. Which also came as a helping hand to divert my attention and not let any negativity surround me. I also started getting back on my hobbies like painting and baking. I always wanted to be a baker, and it feels so good to get back on it. 

I still get anxious, but now I know how to handle it either by controlling my breath rate, talking to a friend or using the grounding technique. Like during the lockdown. When my work was suffering. I started working on new ideas such as food styling and recipe videos. It’s been a big motivator and confidence booster. 

My first panic attack

I remember an instance when I argued with a friend, which got so serious that I had a panic attack and it was the first time I experienced something like this. I was breathless, and felt that I would die. I fell on the floor, and dragged myself to the kitchen for water. And I just stayed there lying on the kitchen floor for like an hour. That was the time I felt like giving up. 

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Support from my friends and family made me start my Instagram page

Throughout all this, my friends supported me a lot. I started my food page, after my one friend suggested that I follow my dreams, and do what I always wanted to do. Whenever I used to feel alone, they would come to my place to meet me, they sent me ice-cream to make me feel good. 

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During my therapy, my family, who didn’t really know how to help me get through, supported me in every step of the way, and helped me accept who I am. From my mom listening to every rant, to my siblings you would shower me with regular hugs, they have been there for me, more than anyone.

I learnt the fact that there is nothing wrong with me, I also learned the art of self-acceptance, to make sure that I’m able to do what I do. Now. Other than this, I’ve also learned that what I feel is just my feelings, and also that only I can control it, which I constantly am working towards. 

Everything is possible, just ask for support

You only live once is surely the biggest driving force in my life today. From working on things which I love to finally investing my time and effort to things that matter, I’ve started to value things much more today.

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Other than this, I’ve also learned that what I feel is just in my feelings, and also that only I can control it. And the more I have understood this simple fact, the easier it has been for me to reach that sacred place, where I’m able to pull myself together and sprint through the bad moments. I’m no expert, but for the listeners, I just want to ask you to ask for support. 

Friends, family, or anyone who helps you share what you feel, and also doesn’t let you dwell in the past is surely a blessing. Get therapy if you feel you need professional help. And don’t be ashamed of feeling this way. It’s okay to feel how you do. Sending hugs and love to all of you!

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