It seems like it was just yesterday when I went live on the air for the first episode of Underground Wellness Radio.
The date was November 11th, 2008 and my guest was Reed Davis, founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition.
There I was, in my shoebox of a studio apartment doing my end of the broadcast from a cordless phone. No fancy equipment. No idea what I was doing. And barely anyone listened.
But I knew there was something to this whole podcasting thing, so I kept showing up. Each week the listenership grew larger and larger, eventually blossoming into a community of Undergrounders across the globe.
And here we are now, almost seven years and 346 episodes later, with one of the most popular health podcasts on the planet. Something that I’m certainly proud of and grateful for.
But something feels off…
For the past year or so, I’ve felt stuck. I mean, while health will always be my first love, it’s not what I’m all about. It’s not all that I have to offer.
And that gnawing feeling … you know, the one you feel when you know you’re not doing exactly what you want to do …. has been eating me up inside.
At times, I find myself consumed with thoughts of who and how I used to be.
The ultra-lean personal trainer who could eat anything he wanted and never gain a pound.
The guy who could crush himself in the gym for 2 hours and wake up the next day feeling like he could do it all over again.
The one who didn’t have to warm up and stretch for 30 minutes just to keep from injuring himself in the weight room.
Though I know darn well that the 20-something version of me — the always-at-the-gym trainer who surely walked at least 25,000 steps a day — is long gone, I still sometimes wonder if I can ever get that body back.
It’s as if my brain is in the business of fooling me into believing that a set of shredded, six-pack-abs will bring more joy into my life. That I can be happier and more fulfilled one day if I get what had back then.
But living in the past to get somewhere in the future only serves omits the now.
It was the most surreal (and frightening) experience of my life.
There I was, sitting on the weight room floor. Hyperventilating. Watching the floor swing from side to side. Lights suddenly blindingly bright. Scared.
I was having a panic attack.
It all began the previous afternoon. Feeling like my social anxiety had gotten out of hand, I showed up for my appointment at the campus clinic looking for help.
I rattled off my symptoms to the doctor — the sweats, tremors, racing heart, negative thoughts, all occurring in social encounters.
I had diagnosed myself with Social Anxiety Disorder. My doctor agreed.
He pulled a pad out of his pocket and wrote a prescription for Prozac.
For some reason, Prozac sounded a little extreme. I had done my research on its side effects and it was the last thing I thought the doc would recommend. I just wanted something to calm me down in social settings and to push me out of what had been a fairly prolonged episode of depression.
In fact, one of my favorite football players openly used another drug, Paxil, for his social anxiety. It seemed to be working for him. That’s what I wanted.