Shyvanne Delva: Hi Quentin, I want to start off by saying thank you for the opportunity to interview you. I understand that you were diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder, do you remember how old you were when you had your first anxiety attack and was there something specific that triggered the attack
Quentin Vennie: Thank you for reaching out. It’s my pleasure to do this interview with you. Yes, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder when I was about 27 years old. Unfortunately to this day, I still don’t know a direct trigger. However, I’m sure my lifestyle at the time played a major factor.
Delva: What was it like living with this disorder?
Vennie: Initially living with my disorder was tough. I couldn’t understand why I was the person that had to go through it. The symptoms mimic those of a heart attack, so it was difficult thinking that I was going into cardiac arrest every day. The fear was overwhelming.
Delva: Was it your disorder that led you into yoga? If not what exactly get you into yoga?
Vennie: It was my disorder and my addiction that led me to yoga. I spent about 2 years battling a dependence to my anxiety meds. After I accidentally overdosed on a combo of anxiety pills and Vicodin, I soon realized that something was horribly wrong. However, it took a few more near death experiences for me to fully commit to making a change.
Delva: What is the major impact yoga has had on your life?
Vennie: Yoga has taught me the importance of finding comfort in discomfort. In all aspects of life, we will be placed in uncomfortable situations. But the key is remembering that the situation isn’t the problem, your reaction to it is. So as long as we can find a place of comfort in our pain, it allows us to be more introspective than reactive.
Delva: Were you following a specific diet as a preventive measure?
Vennie: Not really. I don’t believe in ‘specific diets’. I believe in listening to your body and giving it what it’s asking you for. So if my body wants chicken, it’ll get chicken. Recently, my body started rejecting animal based products, so for the past 14 days I haven’t had any animal based foods (meat, dairy). Well, with the exception of cheese. I love cheese! I’m also an avid juicer, so I drink green juice daily. I love smoothies. I eat whole foods ALWAYS! No processed foods… No exceptions! I make my own treats, granola, acai bowls, etc. I do what feels best for my body.
Delva: What keeps you motivated every day, which helps prevent you from getting any more an anxiety attack?
Vennie: I’m inspired mainly by the people I help. To know that people look to me for motivation, motivates me. I know the impact my mentors have had on my life and for me to be able to have that same affect on someone else, means the world to me. Not only that, but I’m also motivated by fear. More specifically, the fear of going back to what I’ve worked so hard to manage. I’m not cured by any means, I’m great at listening to my body and managing my anxiety. That’s really what it’s all about. I know that if I stopped doing what I’m doing and went back to what I used to do, I’d get the same results that I received before.
Delva: There are a lot of people that have anxiety, are there any advice you can give them to cope with this disorder?
Vennie: The best advice I can give is to think about your worst case scenario and accept it. Whatever that may be. Accept it, but understand that it’s not likely to happen. That’s been key for me.