I woke up in the grip of anxiety, heart thumping and body tense. It started more than a year ago, when actions beyond my control led to a strained relationship and left me feeling wounded and vulnerable. Though I slept well at night, the anxiety returned with a vengeance each morning.

The way I felt reminded me of a college friend who went to see his doctor because he thought he had a throat problem. Each time he would try to eat, his throat would close up, and swallowing was difficult. But when he went to the doctor, he was told that his physical symptoms were simply a manifestation of the inner anxiety he felt.

Now, 13 years after hearing my friend’s story, the erratic beat of my heart felt like a reflection of my own inner turmoil, and I wondered how to fix it. Outwardly, I looked fine. And most of the time, I felt fine—until I let my guard down enough to feel the anxiety that bled out of the soul-deep hurt I felt inside.