Who here gets anxiety? Don't be afraid to acknowledge yourself right now, having anxiety, I'm learning isn't something to be embarrassed about. I have anxiety. In fact on average one in four people in Australia will experience anxiety. Your neighbour, your cousin, your mechanic, the person that babysits your children, they could all be suffering from anxiety and you would never know. Why? Because society overlooks anxiety, see's it as "being silly" or "needing to get over it." I'm here to tell you, anyone who is suffering with anxiety and its crippling effects that it will get better, you will get through the overwhelming feeling of something weighing down on your chest. You will get through the frightening feeling of all the oxygen leaving you're lungs. You will get through the anxiety that you feel consumes you.
My anxiety used to be a lot worse than it is now, it was mainly social anxiety. It was feeling that everything I had to say was boring. It was feeling that every time I opened my mouth I was being judged, or I was saying the wrong thing. I often covered my feelings of anxiety with a blanket of 'I really don't give a shit' attitude, it worked on the outside, however the only thing I wished was that on the inside I would have the same attitude. My social anxiety prevented me from doing many things I look back now and wish I could have done. I remember one point that I realised there was something wrong with my feelings, it was when I wanted to get a hair cut, but the anxiety that was sitting there, making itself comfortable on my chest prevented me from even going up and asking for an appointment. It was when my mum made the appointment for me that I spent the next hour while I got my hair done lost in my thoughts of how that was something I should have been able to do myself but I just couldn't.
I was, I actually probably still am the more of the 'suffer in silence' type. Most anxiety attacks would strike in the dead of the night. The rest of the house was soundly asleep, the house quiet. In my head though the thoughts running through it, they were as loud and as clear as someone sitting next to me and telling them to me. The turning up of my iPod couldn't drown the thoughts out, nothing could. Every night at 2am while I should be sleeping in preparation for school the next day, instead my mind was racing with toxic thoughts, my heart would beat so fast I would be afraid it would just stop and the air would seem to be in shorter supply. Different nights would come with different thoughts, some about the future and what it had in store for me. Would I be successful? Would I be happy? Would this anxiety still be attempting to take over not only my thoughts but my life as well? Thoughts about the past popped up from time to time, I knew I couldn't change it, but it didn't stop me running play-by-plays of different situations in my head and wondering why I hadn't done just one thing differently. Some of the most frightening thoughts though, they focused on the present. They why is this happening to me thoughts. The 'is this my own fault' thoughts. They all lead up to one thing,
That one thing led to many things. This anxiety that was invading my thought process was ruling every decision I made. I had to think about even the smallest of things. Want to run down the shop to grab some ice-cream? Anxiety says no to leaving the house in your sweats and no makeup. Want to go for a run in the afternoon. Anxiety says no to running on roads that people will probably drive past you on. Want to go and talk to that group of girls who you used to be friends with? Anxiety says no, because the authority of anxiety doesn't like to be challenged in much the same way that I didn't want to put myself up against anxiety.
What made me change my mind? What made me decided that I was determined to fight this fight? What made me say no to anxiety? It was the fear that this would continue to make my decisions for me. It was the sudden motivation to be the person I wanted to be and leave that damn awful anxiety at the door. It was me wanting to break away from the thoughts and fear that were holding me back from being and doing so many things.
I cannot say to you right now that overcoming you're anxiety is an easy feat. I'm still fighting. I might be trying to be strong, but anxiety is trying to be stronger. The attacks have stopped, but every now and then I stop to evaluate things and anxiety rears its ugly head. But you get to a point where in your mind its almost automatic to kick those thoughts to the curb, you can get to that point, trust me, if one person like me can do it, anyone else suffering with anxiety can also. You can stop living you life according to anxiety and you can start living life according to you.