Ever since I was little, I’ve been confronted with anxiety without realizing it. Over time my anxiety got worse, till the moment I felt anxious about every single little thing.
I’ve been surrounded by an environment where mental issues are seen as something you need to get over with and is not talked about a lot. So I never actually knew what was going on in my head and body until some years ago.
Anxiety is different for everybody, though it’s often similar in symptoms. I personally experienced a lot of clammy hands, lightness in the head, sweating and rapid heartbeats. Mentally I would add a little more to it with continuous thinking about all the bad case scenarios that could happen, embarrassing situations from the past, and negative feelings about myself.
Since I managed to give a name to these and my other feelings, anxiety, I slowly started to find ways to make myself feel better and to reduce my anxiety.
Note: What I talk about is based on my own experiences with anxiety (social anxiety). This may not apply to everyone, but it’s a guide to how I manage to deal with it. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor when you can’t tackle this alone and your anxiety is too extreme. This post is in no way the one and only solution.
Realizing what is going on in your head
A big step for me was to recognise that I was suffering from anxiety. I had seen some videos and articles with the subject of anxiety in it and realized I felt similar. After some reading and research about the topic, I gave a name to my symptoms. From that moment I started to work on dealing with it.
Do some research online and see how you recognise yourself in the symptoms and feelings of others. Look at the ways how people with anxiety manage to deal with it and live with it. Find out which ways may work for you. Realise that anxiety can be categorised in different kinds of anxiety. When doing research I figured out that I had social anxiety, which completely fit my symptoms. The thought process with having social anxiety can be different than other kinds of anxiety, as the source of the anxiety is different.
Don’t overstep yourself
Anxiety is not something that you solve with a pill or cream. It’s something you have to learn to live with. Learning to deal better with your anxiety can help you get more out of life and reduce your anxiety. Anxiety can hold you back on living your life, achieving your life goals, and therefore being happy.
I feel like I’ve missed so many opportunities already by avoiding situations because of my anxiety. There was a point where I was so done with myself and how I felt, and I wanted to live my life to the fullest and stop being stressed and anxious about every little thing that’s supposed to be exciting. From that moment I’ve been working on ways to reduce my anxiety.
It’s important to understand that anxiety is not something that passes in a day. Anxiety will perhaps always be a part of your life. Though you can reduce your anxiety, so it won’t take your life away.
Take steps that are do-able. It’s tempting to take leaps and change your life drastically, though that will trigger your anxiety even more and perhaps makes your downfall even bigger. Start with that one little thing that has to happen or you want to do, but are too scared to start with. Just getting that one little thing done can cause a reaction that makes you tackle more obstacles. It can be opening that result, making that phonecall, or saying yes to that thing you normally wouldn’t do. New experiences help a lot in reducing your anxious feelings.
Accept your anxiety (and yourself)
I had a long time where I thought that there was something wrong with me. My anxiety made me doubt myself in every part of my life. My abilities, knowledge and my potential were all snowed over. Slowly I started to realise that my anxiety didn’t ruin those aspects of me. My anxiety covered them up, waiting to be revealed again.
Realizing you have anxiety is the first step, but it’s also important to accept that you have anxiety. Accepting your anxiety and yourself with it will make the journey to overcome anxiety easier. When ignoring your anxiety, in the end it will not be solved or diminished, but merely made bigger.
Since I’ve found out that I have anxiety, my life has been a lot clearer to me. I’ve been doubting myself less, and I’ve been handling my anxiety differently. I still get anxious to do things, going to a certain appointment for example, but I deal with it in a different way. My way of thinking changed, making my thoughts more reasonable and making it easier to take those thoughts with a pinch of salt. This point changed my life the most.
These points helped me a lot in handling my own anxiety, and perhaps it will help you too. I’m a big fan of reading and watching how other people live their lives. This is something that I still do and will keep doing. Learning from others and applying little aspects from different people’s lives can create that perfect way of living that works for you.