Anxiety is something that consumes you, it changes and disguises itself, as a shape shifting nightmare. It’s not something that is easily overcome, and takes a lot of personal strength. I applaude each and every person that is in the process of, or able to break out of the nightmare of Anxiety.
Speaking strictly out of personal experience, my goal is to share with others what I wish someone could have told me. There is no real “cure” for anxiety, but what I hope to achieve with this post is to share some of the things that I learned from my own struggle with anxiety, and that it does get better. With that said here are some of the things to keep with you during that time.
- Don’t try too hard: Putting too much pressure on yourself to separate yourself from your anxiety can set you back. Everything will happen in its own time. I know it’s frustrating, it feels like you’re running in place, but all you’re doing is exhausting yourself.
- It doesn’t happen overnight: This is both true and untrue at the same time. You won’t wake up one morning and be “cured”. And don’t worry about it; it takes time. But you will eventually have a moment of realization that everything makes sense, the things you could never imagine doing or couldn’t bring yourself to do, it all suddenly clicked. I like to call this the “a-ha” moment.
- Seeing a counsellor doesn’t mean lying on a couch: I know, I know, you’ve heard it before “seek help”. But speaking from experience, it truly does help. Talking to a counsellor doesn’t mean lying on a couch telling a complete stranger about your problems. It could simply mean listening to them talk, hearing what they are saying, and slowly putting their words into place with your life. And like I mentioned above, in time, you’ll have that a-ha moment and everything will make sense.
- Writing it down: For many, including myself, anxiety can feel embarrassing. The thought of extra attention on you, or the thought of people feeling sorry for you can make it worse. Get yourself a notebook that you can keep to yourself and just write down anything that comes to mind at any given time. Even if it’s just one word. It may help lead you to your a-ha moment, or even find out what triggers your anxiety. Which leads me to number five.
- It’s okay to not have control: So you can’t seem to figure out any obvious triggers, maybe there aren’t any. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’ll never figure it out; it just means you might have to dig a little deeper to find the answer. Trust me, you’ll be stronger from it.
- Everyone experiences anxiety differently: Don’t waste your time doing online searches for “anxiety signs and symptoms” only to find a bunch of nothing. Nobody experiences anxiety the same way; the only important thing here is that you know how you feel. Know and trust your own body.
- Don’t listen to others: This goes along with what I said above; everyone’s an expert. (And I know, this one kind of contradicts everything I’m doing here, but you know what I’m getting at.) Yes, their intentions may be good, but they don’t feel what you feel. Just remember, you know you best.
- It’s okay to distance yourself: Like I mentioned before, sometimes anxiety can feel embarrassing, and people like to get involved in issues that aren’t theirs to deal with. Know that it’s okay to do it alone and distance yourself from others while you figure things out. I found my a-ha moment after separating myself and keeping my thoughts in my own head. Yes, the ones close to you generally want to support you, but often times the best thoughts come from a silent room.
- There will be hard times: As you probably already know, it’s not an easy task overcoming anxiety. There will be tears, anger, confusion, and sometimes just lying in silence on your bedroom floor. You’ll be stronger for it, I can promise you that. The hard times will outweigh the good ones, so remember to celebrate the smallest victories even if it is just to yourself. A step forward is a step forward, no matter how small. Because…
- You’ll never look back: You’ll know it when you feel it. When you find your a-ha moment, it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of your shoulders. When you get over that last hurdle, all the memories of those hard times simply turn to scars; you can see where you used to feel pain, but it no longer hurts.
*This is by no means a professional opinion, it is based soley off of my own experiences.*
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Thanks for reading!