SUMMARY OF THE SHOW
This is the first episode of Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul, and it features my story. Each episode of Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul will feature a guest; however, I felt it was important that for the very first episode, I share my own story. Because how can I expect my guests to be vulnerable and authentic about their pivotal moments if I don’t share my own?
I tell my life story and the pivotal moment of when I went from being a passionate, tenacious and resilient person to a fragile and fearful person that suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and depression, which lasted 18 months.
TOPICS THAT I DISCUSS IN MY STORY:
I'm Claire Rogers, and you're listening to Boot Camp for the Mind and Soul, the podcast that gives you an inner workout.
Before we get started, remember, just like in a gym where you may not be able to use all the equipment. Pick up what you can in this episode and leave behind what you can't.
Your inner workout starts now.
Hey there, I'm Claire Rogers and you're listening to the very first episode of Boot Camp for the Mind and Soul.
So, this episode is going to be a bit different from all the other episodes in the sense that this episode is just about me.
It's my story, because I figure I can't ask my guests to be vulnerable and share their story, if I don't share mine.
Okay, so let's start with the highlight reel, because that's what we do in society, we sell airbrush lives and perfect faces don't we?
So here it goes. Here's my highlight reel.
I was a professional model for five years, where I lived and travelled around the world surrounded by beautiful people. During that time I partied with Skid Row, Ice T and Body Count and Jane's Addiction to name but a few. It was a wild and super glamorous ride.
Last time I counted, I've been to close to 70 countries, most of which I travelled to on my own. I've backpacked and camped in pup tents across nine countries in Africa.
I've trekked through remote villages in northern Thailand where villagers were so impressed that this lone blue eyed blonde girl showed up that they showered me with a celebratory dance and fed me with their delicacy of charcoaled rat.
I've seen the Kirov in St. Petersburg, Russia, swam with manta rays in Hawaii, watch the beluga whale migration in the Canadian Arctic, climbed volcanoes in the Galapagos Islands and been awe inspired by the underwater world in Bora Bora and the Maldives. I've travelled extensively in the Middle East and been to most countries in Asia, some of which I lived in for years.
I've got a mom, stepdad and husband that love me.
And all of this sounds pretty badass right?
Let me keep going, I'm on a roll. Sell it baby, sell that perfect life!
Okay so here I go. I've got a college education, professional science certificates from UC Berkeley and Harvard, I've worked for corporate America for 20 years where I made loads of money, and received, tones of rewards and recognition.
Over the years I've run 1781 miles and I have two marathons under my belt. Running is my religion.
And overall I am one cool chick who's had a very cool life.
So that's my highlight reel. That's what I'm supposed to tell you right? Because that's what we're selling in society.
But hang on a second. Let's rewind that highlight reel, shall we. Let's remove the airbrush and take the filter off.
From the get-go, I was told I wasn't wanted. The exact words I remember are I should have used a condom, and then you wouldn't be here.
I've been kicked into walls, down the stairs, had large kitchen scissors held to my throat and told my tongue would be cut out for speaking.
I've been beaten.
I've been left in a dark forest and told that nobody wants me.
I've begged and pleaded to call and be allowed to see my mother, who was used as a bargaining chip.
I've been suffocated more times than I care to recall, and I try not to recall it, because those scars are deep.
I was a scared and terrified kid who sucked in school. I was a C student at best and usually got D's in mathematics.
I've been held up at gunpoint with the barrel pressed right up against my chest, while the guy cocked the gun, ready to click the trigger unless I gave him what he wanted.
Modelling wasn't glamorous at all. It was a toxic environment where young insecure girls are thrown in environments with hot older male models that are about 10 years older. Because ironically guys get better looking as they age.
In modelling you're continuously told you're not good enough; not pretty enough, not the perfect face, not the perfect shape, your boobs aren't big enough, and you're given bags of speed by modelling agencies to keep you looking skinny and gaunt.
I’ve frantically flushed those same bags of speed down the toilet when the police showed up unannounced to check on my work visas for the countries, I was in.
One of my best friends died of a heroin overdose.
Despite all of this tragedy I kept going. I kept getting back up again. I was resilient and tenacious. One determined feisty go-getter of a chick. Nothing was going to stop me from achieving what I wanted out of life. You could knock me down, beat me up and I would always get back up again.
Until I couldn't anymore.
It happened in a blink of an eye. I didn't see it coming.
It happened on a Saturday morning. It was grey outside, and I was exhausted. I couldn't seem to wake up. I felt like I had jet lag. I was dazed and confused, and I had to get my shit together and head to my five year old nephew's birthday party with my husband. And I really didn't want to go, but I did not have a choice in the matter.
And so I walked into this dingy Town Hall, an hour outside of London, where I was greeted by 15 hyperactive kids running around playing with their Nerf guns. And I looked the part. I was dressed up pretty and I played the part. I put on a big beaming smile and brought my extroverted personality out.
But inside something was wrong. I could feel it. I didn't know what was wrong, but something was off, and that off feeling was making me feel really unnerved.
Despite this, I somehow managed to keep it together. I shined my bright light on all the parents in the room and I engaged, and chit chatted with them like nobody's business.
A few hours later we could finally escape. Thank God for that. My hubby and I started to drive home.
And that's when it happened. That's when everything changed. We're in the car, and we're talking about random stuff, nothing too serious. When all of a sudden, I felt like someone had put a tight elastic band around my chest and was slowly squeezing the life out of me.
My arms and legs started to go numb, my hands and feet start to tingle with pins and needles, and I started to hyperventilate. I could not breathe. I remember frantically trying to pull air into my chest. I looked down at my chest where I could quite literally see my heart pounding away frantically in terror. My body and mind were ravaged with overwhelming mind blowing feelings of terror.
I've felt fear before, but this was next generation level of fear.
I remember thinking, oh my God, I am going to die, I am going to die right here in this car. I don't want to die. I've got so much more I want to live for.
I can't believe it. I am going to die right now.
I looked out of the window in a state of utter stupefaction like I was seeing cars for the very first time. And I remember wondering how I got there; how was I in the situation that I was going to die.
And then something clicks in my mind; something inside me tells me I'm having a panic attack. I don't know how I know; I just know. Something has told me inside what is going on, but that doesn't take away the overwhelming feeling of fear and terror that's washing and flooding over my body.
I'm ravaged with overwhelming feelings of terror and that terror lasts 30 minutes.
By the time we get home, I am a broken fragile wreck, and I can't snap out of it. That tenacious, resilient, passionate girl who I was. She'd left the building and is not coming back. I couldn't find her. I could not dig deep and get her back and pick her back up again like I had done so many times before. She was gone. She was gone for 18 months.
Instead, a new chick moved in. And this new check is terrified. Every day I wake up terrified. I shake uncontrollably. My heart is constantly pounding in overdrive. My body and mind are constantly flooded with overwhelming, mind blowing feelings of fear, and I'm perpetually terrified of when the next panic attack is going to strike. And because of this, I develop a fear of fear itself.
I go from being the girl that camped under the stars in Zimbabwe and heard lions prowling around outside my tent in Zambia, to becoming a girl that scared to walk into Starbucks, for fear of not been able to open my mouth to speak, and for fear of collapsing in a panic attack right there in the middle of a coffee shop.
I become so scared that I don't even want to leave the house. I have to leave the house, but that is a song and a dance in itself. I'm thinking where am I going? how am I going to get there? How long is it going to be until I get back home? My mind is ravaged with these feelings of what I call What if? disease. What if I have a panic attack in the grocery store? What if it happens in the middle of the street? what if it happens in front of my clients? What if it happens in front of my staff? What if it happens in front of my friends? what if? what if? what if? my mind was constantly screaming at me that there was fear everywhere.
And besides my hubby and my mum. I didn't tell anyone what was going on. Because I thought that what I was going through meant that I was weak.
I didn't tell work because I was pretty damn convinced that I would be fired or pushed out, because in my experience, mental health challenges in the workplace is normally in Corporate America something that's talked about once a week during Mental Health Awareness Week. It's a tick the box exercise. I definitely kept my mouth shut. Nobody had a clue what was going on at work and I didn't share it with anybody else in my private life.
And so I hid that private road of hell I was living in.
Emotionally I was in so much pain.
Mentally, I was so depressed and so, so fearful. As I say, I've had a rough life, but this fear was next generation level compared to what I had been through, and I could not make that fear stop or go away.
Spiritually, I was so stressed. I didn't have a God. I didn't have a religion. I did not have anything to help me crawl out of it.
But physically I smiled.
I dressed the part. I acted the part. I deserved an Academy Award, because none of you would have had a clue what was going on.
And so every day I wake up to a world of hell.
Every day I wake up and I'm trembling, and I was shaking, and my heart is just pounding away. I'm small framed. I'm 5'7 about roughly 120 pounds. And so it's easy to see where my heartbeat is, and I was constantly fixated on looking at it because it looked like it was just pounding out of my chest.
And I’ve got to somehow function, and work, feeling like this. And what I noticed as well as while I've got those overwhelming feelings of fear going on, I develop a fear of speaking. I've got the gift of the gab, I'm an extrovert. Put me in a room and I will chat up the room, no problem. But now all of a sudden, I can't find my voice anymore. I'm scared of my own voice. I'm scared I'm going to open my mouth and garbage is going to come out or I'm going to lose my words and I'm just going to ramble or I'm just not even going to know how to speak English anymore, I'm just going to speak gibberish.
And so, I've lost all of my confidence literally overnight. And every day I had to try to function with this overwhelming fear that’s just racing through my system.
So for those of you who are listening who have never had a panic attack and do not understand what I'm describing, imagine this; it's like you're jacked up on drugs. It's like you've had 50 cups of coffee. You're just jittering and shaking. And then you've got to try and function that way, on this overdrive of adrenaline and cortisol that's just pumping through your system. And it's such an awful terrifying feeling.
And during this time while am navigating this awful world of hell that I'm living in, literally the only thing that I wanted to do during that time was sleep. Because sleep meant a bit of a reprieve and meant I didn't have to be scared for five minutes. But then you'd wake up again and that hell would start all over again.
And I remember fighting it. I was just white knuckling it so badly.
I didn't ask for help. I need help, and I cannot crawl out of it. I cannot find who I used to be. I cannot find where that strong girl that you knock her down and she gets back up again. I couldn't find her.
And then I got some news that absolutely finished me off.
Long lost friends have been trying to track me down for years to tell me the news.
And then one friend did track me down, and he wrote to me. And he said,
Hey, Claire. I don't know how I'm going to tell you this. So I'm just going to come right out and say it, Ang's dead. He died of a heroin overdose. And what kills me about it Claire is that he knew he had to get clean. But he didn't make it. He's dead.
Getting that note and reading it, learning that my friend died, was a dagger to my heart. It cut deep; it still cuts deep. I deeply loved this guy. He was one of my soulmates, one of the greatest loves of my life. Not in a romantic sense been in a deep I see you; I know you; you are my person sense. He was such a beautiful soul, and he believed in me before I did.
And hearing he died, absolutely crushed me to my soul and finished me off.
I was just couldn't believe it. I thought my God, I have been flitting around the world and climbing the corporate ladder and one of my peeps has somehow got into heroin and died from it. Like what the absolute fuck has gone on?
And my already wrought, twisted and terrified mind was reeling, I just thought, what in the absolute fuck, is the point of all of this. One of my people is dead. One of my guys is dead. How in the fuck did he get into heroin in the first place? I raged and I cried to God... why, why, why on earth would you take that guy?
I didn't know who God was, but I was pretty sure he hadn't been looking out for me and now losing one of my guys proved it to me.
And so now to compound those overwhelming feelings of fear that's ravaging my body and mind, now I've got grief on top of it, and as I say, this was a soulmate. This was a soul crushing grief that I was going through.
And the funny thing with this grief, was that I loved him, I missed him, I was grieving him, I was so sad, but at the same time, my God, I was pissed off at him. I was pissed like a tiger. I would be raging at him one minute going,how in the hell did you get into this? what the hell happened? to the next minute being crushingly soul destroying sad, and so upset and floods of tears.
And then, also, at the same time, I'm ravaged with feelings of overwhelming terror and anxiety, that's been ravaging me for at least a year by this point.
And that's when the depression hit.
I was so broken. I was crushed. I was devastated. I just gave up. I didn't have the energy for the fear anymore, and I didn't have the energy for the anger and the rage. I just thought I am done.
And so I went numb. I started sleepwalking through my days and I would oscillate from feeling overwhelming terror that I can't get rid of to just crushing sadness and depression.
And the worst part about it was that I had no one to go through my grief with because everyone in my circle of people back home had already gone through their grief because my friend had died a few years prior. So they already gone through it. So I was alone with it.
And so I tortured myself because I didn't know how to handle it. My mental capacity was not in any way shape or form in a good state to be able to handle it normally or how normal people would handle grief. I was already crushed. I was already broken.
And so I tortured myself. I was trying to get memories of my friend back and so I was digging out old photos and letters that I had that were in a box in storage. And I would play Pearl Jam's 'Ten' album, over and over and over again because that's what my friend and I used to listen to back in the day. Anything to just try to grasp and hold on to those memories still.
And so I raged, and I cried for him for about a year.
And then I noticed something.
So while I'm in this deep funk of a depression and I'm thinking that the old me, that happy girl, that passionate girl with lots of tenacity and resiliency, I'm thinking she's well and truly gone and she's never coming back, like apparently this is my new reality, I'm just doomed to be living in these overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety and depression.
And I should also caveat here I didn't actually go for help either. I didn't ask anyone for help. I didn't tell anyone because I thought that that meant that I was weak and so I white knuckled all of this anxiety and depression, didn't get any help, which now in hindsight I look back and think my God I made life difficult for myself. But anyway, I suffered in silence. I suffered on my own.
But here's the interesting thing when I was going through this grief; is that the rage that I started feeling for my friend, that pissed off, I can't believe that you got in a situation.... It actually started to help me. It actually helped me get out of my funk. I'm so mad at my friend that a spark lights in me and I start to wake up. And I want to know why I'm constantly and chronically feeling terrified. I want to know why I keep finding myself curled up on the bathroom floor shaking with these insufferable panic attacks. I want to find a way to pick myself up again and I actually think, losing my friend and being so pissed off at him, that anger and that rage actually lit that fire in me to start waking up again, because 18 months of grief and anxiety and depression is such a long time to be in pain, and intense fear and sadness. It's such a long time to feel so bone crushingly alone, and not understood.
And so that's when I started to pick apart the life I'd built.
Initially I blamed Corporate America. It's their fault. I'm working stupid long hours and it's totally their fault. I'm working 12 hour days, I'm working weekends, I'm working every freakin hour under the sun. I've got a $3 billion a year target for me and my team and if we don't meet those targets, I'll be gone and so will some of my team. So it's high pressure. I am working to accommodate multiple time zones with untenable workloads; it's just not sustainable for one person, but I've got to grind it out. I got to put everything I've got into it because I don't want to lose my job. I don't want my staff to lose their jobs. And I want to climb the corporate ladder because that's what we're supposed to do right? We're supposed to make lots of money and buy lots of stuff and buy the house the car and have the holidays, you name it. And that is what happiness is about right?
And that was fun. I blamed them for a while, I kept working there, I kept blaming them, it's all their fault. But I knew that wasn't entirely the case. Corporate America has got a lot to be blamed for, they churn and burn employees and discard them easily without thinking twice about it, there's no doubt in my mind.
But I had to be honest with myself. It's not Corporate America's fault that a scared people pleasing kid seeking approval, who turned into a people pleasing adult seeking approval came to work for them.
Corporate America is the perfect place for someone like me with my background. I am a grafter. I will work my ass off to get ahead and get some of that approval that I wanted when I was a kid. Shower me with praise and give me awards and recognition and tell me I'm special? I'm going to lap that up like a cat who's got the cream. I won't set boundaries; I will let you walk all over me. Just so long as you keep telling me that I'm special, and you keep giving me praise and you keep giving me rewards and recognition and telling me how amazing I am. I'm totally your girl. I'm going to do it to that lap all of it up, just to get that attention.
I'm going to lap it all up until I start swimming in a sea of anxiety, anguish, sadness, and intense grief.
I'm going to lap it all up until I hit rock bottom.
I'm going to lap it up until I realize that it's all bullshit.
And I realize it's all bullshit. I remember being in a meeting in Madrid. I'm bored out of my brain. There's 30 of us Directors in the room and we're all talking about next year’s sales targets and what the goal is for the year and yada yada yada. It's the same song and dance that you hear every single year in corporate life.
I remember being so bored and for some reason I looked down at my shoes and I caught attention to the shoes that I was wearing. And then the penny dropped...Oh my God, you are trading your health for your wealth, you are sitting here so that you can wear a pair of $500 shoes and you don't even care about this stuff innately. You do not even care about all this designer crap that you've been buying. You've been buying your feelings because you're freaking miserable.
And that's when I started to wake up.
I started to wake up from the funk I was in. I still had the overwhelming fear that was running through me. But that tenacious girl was on her way back.
I started to unpick, pull apart and dissect every single moment of my life up to that point. I went to those dark places that I did not want to go to in my mind. I shone a light on all of the darkness, all of the sadness, all of the fear and I called myself out on my own crap.
I read hundreds of books in self-help, personal development, neuroscience, philosophy, mindset, business, success to spirituality and everything in between. I took courses. I studied. And I put myself through my own therapy to get better again, and to build a new me.
My ego was already crushed from the anxiety and depression and so I was a sponge. I was soaking up all the knowledge and I was applying it. I was not just reading and studying it. I was mastering it. I was building myself back up again to be a new and a better person.
And that better person that I was becoming didn't want to climb the corporate ladder anymore. I don't think I ever did. It just kind of fell my way. I'm a grafter. I'm a grinder. I work really hard and so people noticed that. I didn't actually have to apply for many or if any of my jobs. I was kind of headhunted, hand-picked and kind of told you're coming up the corporate ladder. And so I did because I like that recognition, but in hindsight I looked at it and thought, I have spent 20 years of building a career that I do not love. All in the name of getting approval and I guess I'm addicted to the money. I'm addicted to the status. I like the name. I like the identity that I have cultivated for myself. But fundamentally, none of it actually made me happy.
And that's why I think the panic attacks started. I had to wake up and realize that 1) the ladder that I had been frantically climbing was leaning against totally the wrong house; I didn't know what house it was supposed to be leaning against, but it definitely was not supposed to be against Corporate America's house. And 2) I realized that the panic attacks that I was afflicted with and that depression was like an explosion in my psyche. I had to deal with that scared gid that I'd been dragging around the world. I had to deal with that scared of kid that was people pleasing that didn't have any boundaries that was constantly seeking approval. I had to deal with that scared kid, and that's why I believe I started having panic attacks, anxiety, depression, etc.
And so as I got better, the depression lifted. The panic attacks went away. The anxiety went away. And I built a brand new me. A happy me. A very secure me. And I quit corporate life. That was five, six years ago. I'm out. I'm done. I'm giving up the high paying job. I'm giving up the cool sexy title that I had. I'm giving up everything. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but it's not this. And so after I gave my four months’ notice and I had to work every single freaking day of those four months, they weren't going to let me go a day sooner.
After I finished my four month notice period, still not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I remember reading in the Financial Times I think it was, and it said that one in every three or one in every four, I don't remember the exact stat of employees suffer from corporate burnout.
And I remember thinking, shit, I went through 18 months of absolute hell, holding it together, acting like everything was fine. And as I say, I deserved an Academy Award. You wouldn't have had a clue what was going on with my mental health. I remember thinking, oh no, I hid that so well, and if the numbers are one in every three or one in every four, that means my staff could have been going through it. That could have been my boss, it could have been my boss's boss, it could have been my clients, it could be my friends, it could be my family. It could be everywhere.
And that's how I came to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I thought, I hid it, and that means that I've missed the signs and everybody else's because I've been so absorbed in my own world of hell.
I haven't enlightened anybody by hiding it. I haven't helped anybody by hiding what was happening to me. If anything I made it worse because if you'd seen me, I looked like I was living the perfect life, I looked the part. I acted the part. From the outside, it looked like things were going well and so I did a disservice by hiding it.
Not long after that, I saw an ad from an event, and they were looking for people to talk about anxiety, depression, and burnout in Corporate America and so forth. And I applied to speak up at that event, thinking, I'm never going to get it. They hire New York Times bestselling authors to talk about this kind of stuff, they're not going to hire me.
But wow, they did. So hey, go bigger or go home. The first speech I would ever do is in front of 500 people, and I've got to go stand out there and say exactly what I have hidden for 18 months.
And I walk out on that stage and I'm scared. I'm thinking to myself, oh my god this is career suicide. You are never going to work again once you admit what you were going through.
But I remember looking through that audience thinking one in every three or it's one in every four and there's 500 people here. So my people are in the crowd. There are people in here who are going to recognize what I went through.
So I went out there fearlessly, and I told my story. And after I gave my keynote, I think it was an hour long speech, I was mobbed. I had so many people come up to me that I couldn't possibly talk about it with everybody. And they all said thank you, because you just shared my story.
And that's where my new career began. I've gone from a place of hiding what happened to me with my mental health, and with the grief that I went through. I've gone from hiding it to now I want to scream it and shout from the rooftops, because I don't want people to go through what I went through and feel so incredibly alone.
And I have no fear anymore. The new me that I built after that intense therapy of one, meaning I didn't go and see a therapist, I put myself through my own therapy by myself. Once you put yourself through that and you shine a light on that darkness in your life; once you have been in rock bottom, curled up on your bathroom floor, willing a panic attack to go away and feeling like you're going to die every single freaking day, you become fearless. Because nothing can be worse than that.
So the new me that I created and built up again? She's awesome.
I'm passionate. I'm resilient and tenacious. And I'm a deeply kind and compassionate, empathetic person.
I think once you crush your ego - and I've talked to a lot of people about this who've done the same thing, once you are able to crush your ego, once you lose your self-confidence, once you get to that place where you think nothing matters and nobody cares about you, I think it changes you. It makes you a stronger person. It definitely did in my case. It made me a kinder and more compassionate and empathetic person. I was always kind and compassionate, but I feel deeply now. I feel deep, deep love for people. I deeply love the people that are in my pack and I will lay down in traffic for them. I freely tell people that I love them now. I no longer seek approval. I no longer fear rejection. My boundaries are like a fortress.
I've thrown all of the awards that I got from Corporate America in the bin, in the recycling bin. They went years and years ago. I figured I don't need that ego wall and that external validation to feel good anymore. I am deeply, deeply grounded in who I am. I'm deeply grounded in spirituality.
And, again, I'm going to go back to that soul crushing feeling of lying on your bathroom floor thinking that you're dying and that you're losing your marbles and you're never going to feel good again. When you can pull yourself out of that, you learn what the meaning of life is. Certainly I did. I came away thinking the meaning of life for me is no longer working every hour under the sun to chase rainbows that society is selling me. Now for me the meaning of life is 100% to be kind, compassionate, authentic, share my story, shout it from the rooftops, I don't hide a damn thing. And it's to serve people.
And actually I now say I look back on that private world of hell that I lived in as being the best thing that ever happened to me because I came out on the other side of it a much better human being. And I now know the meaning of life. My meaning of life is definitely to help people and so for that I have to be grateful for every single thing that happened in my life.
And I no longer need to dress and act the part. If you see me all dressed up to the nines and give a speech or I'm presenting in corporate workshops, and I'm all dressed up in the fancy shoes and a handbag and a cool dress, it's because that's what I'm expected to look like.
Know this, when I am not in that environment, when I am not in a professional setting, the first thing that happens is I wash that crap off my face, my hair is pulled back in a ballcap, the jeans and T shirt come on and if I'm not in the great outdoors, I'll be rocking the house with my air guitar like nobody's business.
Because, once you've been to that absolute soul crushing rock bottom, you no longer care what people think about you. And you definitely do not think about or care about what does not matter in life.
So that's it. That's me. That's my truth. That's the real highlight reel.
So, if you've got questions about my story, or if you want to know more, I'm cool with it. I am a total open book. I don't hide anything anymore. I'm more than happy to share it all if it helps. So if you want to know more about me and you've got questions, then drop me a note, you can find my details at my website https://www.itopiacoaching.com/ . Let me know your questions. If there's loads of questions, then I will probably have a guest co-host come on and asked me those questions and we can go through my story if you want, or if there's only a few then I can answer them on future episodes.
Finally, I want to say this episode I'm dedicating to Ang, Adrian Umlah. That's my guy that I lost, because his passing helped me to find my fire again and so for that I'm going to be grateful. I love that guy so much. I can now listening to Pearl Jam, and I don't cry anymore. I know he's in a good place, which I can tell you all about that another time.
And also, I want to dedicate this episode to all of those ducks out there. The ducks that are smooth and calm on the surface but are always frantically kicking their feet below the surface. Know this; if you are a duck, you do not have to kick so hard, and you're not alone. Take it from a fellow duck. I have discovered that although I'm very good at kicking my feet, I'm also a really good swimmer. And I have no doubt that you are too.