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  • Brett Zalaski

My Struggle with Anxiety: One Year Later

One year ago today I posted an article on LinkedIn about my struggles with anxiety and depression. I honestly had no idea what I was expecting from it. I wrote the article at some point in late July or early August...and I couldn't hit send until October 1st. You know, that whole anxiety thing. What occurred after has been overwhelming. Immediately, I received a ton of notes of thanks. Over the last year people have come up and thanked me over the phone, at conferences, and even at my sales trainings. It's been one of the most rewarding decisions I've ever made in my life...and to see its impact on others has just been overwhelming in the best possible way.

One month ago today I felt incredibly heavy. Like I couldn't make a move. I was suffering from anxiety again. This was being brought on by decisions I was making in my career that I couldn't help but think about the repurcussions into the #sportsbiz industry. It's not nearly as major as I make it seem here...but that's how it felt in my head. And, unlike I had in my past, I acted to pull myself out of that funk.

I'm not cured. I'm just better equipped to handle it when I am anxious, and my episodes no longer stretch for long periods of time. It may be an hour or a couple days at most. And it doesn't stay that way because I can identify my struggles quicker, and I am much less arrogant to keep those feelings quiet.

Sales is a job riddled with anxious moments. Letting all that build without an outlet can be remarkably damaging. I've been asked by a lot of people what they need to do if they feel tight, or they feel like they can't move, or they just want away from the office...and I always respond, 'Talk to someone.' It doesn't have to be a professional at the start, just someone that you trust (though a professional is encouraged)...or seek help through organizations like We're All A Little "Crazy" or apps like Calm.

Last year I talked about how amazing it was to get married...something I never would have been able to do if I hadn't attacked my anxiety straight on. This past Sunday I got baptized. As difficult as imagining myself getting married had been at my lowest, the idea of getting baptized would have been absolutely impossible. Owning my faith and sharing it with 100 people in person and countless others online? Not a chance. Yet I wasn't nervous for a second. I was just excited.

I wish everyone the courage to be excited...and the ability to cope with fear. It's worth every effort you can make to do so.

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