If you’ve ever had it bad you know anxiety is a bitch. Stressful situations are supposed to cause anxiety; a reaction we’ve evolved with and one which has been useful for us to continue the species. What I’m talking about is the type of anxiety which can develop in the absence of any seriously stressful situations. The anxiety that we seem to get for no reason that can feel like someone is throttling your soul.
Anxiety disorder affects about 1 in 50 people at some point in their lives and typically develops before the age of 30, so it’s very likely a few people in your lives will have it and a lot more in your Facebook friends list. Anxiety crushed and suffocated me for years and because of how overpowering it is will be something that I will do my best to not experience again. Waking up in the morning and dreading the day ahead is one of the worst things I’ve experienced. It affects your willingness to do things that you would have taken for granted; for instance, going to work or going out with friends can all become so scary.
The weirdest things by far was feeling anxious about getting better. I was scared to get the help I needed to stop feeling scared about everything .Then one day I had a panic attack on the way to work and decided enough was enough. I remember that day like it was yesterday; having a break down in the car on the way to work when it was hammering down with rain outside, on the way to a job I couldn’t have cared less about. This sounds pretty shitty, but it was one of the best days of my life. From reaching rock bottom to immediately seeing that there was light at the end of the tunnel all within an instant. This experience gave me the resolve to get better. For people who have anxiety once the resolve arrives then the real hard work starts, anxiety is not something you can just decide to get over, not something that you can just drop one day, these horrible daily feelings are not a choice and are not someone acting weak.
Once we get a burning desire and faith in ourselves we can really start to achieve our goals. For me this wasn’t about being normal, I’m not normal (sometimes a littel weird!) , this was about me re-becoming my self.
Changing thought patters is not easy but it can be done. I was never a fan of the medication and barely took it, although they can be effective and should be something you discuss with your doctor.What worked best for me was speaking about my feelings. I also benefited a lot from various self-development books. Both these methods gave me the confidence to do the things I wanted to and the mere act of being able to act, having previously been incapable, was when I knew I’d be OK.
The five things that really worked for me were (links below); talking to my doctor, finding a therapist and learning to discuss my feelings, reading about positivity, learning to meditate and finding positive distractions that I could involve myself in to take my mind of things; things like exercise. It’s hard, really hard but as with anything in life don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s amazing what you can do when you start to change your thoughts about nearly everything and to remove the blinkers something like anxiety gives you.
The Road Less Travelled – Scott M. Peck http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/347852.The_Road_Less_Traveled
F*ck It – John C. Parkin – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16024912-fuck-it?from_search=true
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche, Andrew Harvey – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/206731.The_Tibetan_Book_of_Living_and_Dying?from_search=true
Books I wish I found sooner
A Guide to The Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy – Willaim B Irvine http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5617966-a-guide-to-the-good-life?from_search=true
The Obstacle is The Way – Ryan Holiday http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18668059-the-obstacle-is-the-way?from_search=true
The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are – Alan Wilson Watts – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60551.The_Book_on_the_Taboo_Against_Knowing_Who_You_Are?from_search=true