I have severe anxiety.
And so do a lot of you. Anxiety disorders are more common than any other disorder in the US. For me, anxiety comes in several forms. I tend to isolate myself when I feel it coming and close any contact with other people, even my closest friends. For anyone else who suffers from anxiety, know this:
your anxiety does not define you
you can take control over your life.
Sometimes this is in the form of seeking professional help, talking to a doctor or being referred to a specialist and if you feel that is right for you, you are not a weak person!! It takes so much strength to reach out and ask for help! I found myself in a place where I had to ask for help and admit that I could not suffer through this on my own. Anxiety had become the captain of my life, all my decisions were based around my fears. Most of those fears were based on nothing but what ifs. I recently gained control over my life again and am finally in a place where I am truly a happy girl! It’s been a dark six months in my life and to finally reach that place has been the most freeing time I have ever experienced.
Make a list of every worry and problem
I sat down with a pad of paper and wrote down every single anxious thought that was plaguing my life. I still continue to do this even though I am out of that stage! I then organized every thought into two categories: things I can change and those things I can’t. On my things I can change list I had some problems with my roommates, problems that were keeping me from wanting to be home or be social, and general stresses like schoolwork overdue. I could then make a master plan for how to begin to attack that list.
Attacking your worries is an empowering experience
Some of those problems were actually caused by me! Things I had done! People I needed to apologize to in order to feel okay again! To say I was free the second I made those changes and apologies is an understatement- I was elated. Then came the worries I couldn’t change. Things that haunted me at the most unexpected times- what if, what if, what if! I learned a very powerful tool in order to combat my what ifs. I took every worry and instead wrote an equal and opposite what if:
What if I fail my finals no matter how hard I study?
What if I pass my finals because of all the hard work I’m putting in?
It is important to combat your what ifs because that’s the best part about them, they are little tiny insignificant what ifs- no basis to any of them besides your own brain wondering things! Only when I freed myself from my what ifs, my life changed drastically. I started getting back into my favorite activities such as yoga and swimming. I harnessed my passion for writing and started (hooray) this very blog!! I rediscovered my drive and passion for life and friendship and that is really what makes life worth living to me!
To conclude, dear reader:
You are not a static person. You are a malleable, ever changing soul with the capabilities to do anything. You are whatever you choose to define yourself by and you make life’s rules and decide how to live. I wanted to share my personal experience in an out of that dark place in my life in order to inspire anyone who may be going through something similar. Make changes. You will never regret it.
Until the next post,