Last week I wrote about being stronger than our fears. I received quite a few emails and comments over on the Facebook page from other women at forty facing their own unique fears. One wrote about going back to school and being anxious about the 20-year -olds in class alongside her. Another wrote about becoming a mom later in life and being mistaken for her child’s grandmother. For most of us these types of fears boil down to mind over matter. Overcoming them involves having less doubt, a little more faith and a dash of “who cares what you think.” But what if your fears ran deeper – much deeper? What if there was a clinical reason for the fears that haunted you.
If you’re Pamela Grossman you find a way to live through the fear. In fact, you thrive despite of it. That’s exactly what Pamela did when at 40 she was stricken with debilitating panic attacks that seemingly came out of nowhere. Pamela’s the third woman to be featured as a Women at Forty Whirly Girl, and a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk to her at length about the panic disorder that changed her life, her gift business, In the Present, and how she’s living life in her 40’s… (photo: Pamela Grossman)
On how she remembers 40
At 40 Pamela says she suddenly realized “I got it. In fact, I always had it and didn’t have to prove it anymore.” “It” related primarily to work. For 20 years Pamela worked in TV, radio and print production for industry giants like Turner Broadcasting. She’d spent decades trying to prove herself in the workplace and finally at 40 no longer felt the need. But just as that freeing mindset came about, she found herself suddenly stricken with debilitating panic attacks. After visiting doctors, undergoing a litany of tests and being misdiagnosed with everything from heart problems to acid reflux, Pamela was diagnosed with severe panic disorder.
On her panic disorder and digging herself out of the hole
Of the onset of her panic disorder, Pamela describes being in a “deep abyss of terror,” stumped at the fact that the same woman who once produced TV shows with million dollar budgets couldn’t will herself to walk out the front door. As is often the case with life’s biggest challenges , Pamela’s struggle to get a handle on the disorder has inspired her to create a website, Unwrappingpanic.com. The site, scheduled to launch in September, will be a place for sufferers of anxiety disorder to get real information about living with the illness. Eventually, thanks to professional help and support from family and friends, she was able to dig out from under. And although her “digging out” story spanned over two years, it was during that time that her business, In the Present, was created.
Wednesday: In Living In the Present – Part 2, Pamela talks about launching her business, her biggest fear, and shares some insight into living life in your 40’s.