Over the last year, my relationship with my anxiety disorder has changed. As written about before, I went from a silent sufferer who was scared of even talking about panic attacks, to kind of a voice for sufferers going through the same things I did and still do. Since starting my Twitter account (@anxiwarrior) I’ve gotten in touch with, and hopefully helped, a lot of people who all reach out to one another when going through particular struggles be it long or short term.
When people have asked for my help in the past, they come looking for a direct answer. ‘How can I beat my anxiety?’ or ‘what tips have you got?’ are usually the main questions, and although if love there to be a direct answer, unfortunately it’s not that simple. I’ll explain.
Anxiety disorders come in many forms and are focused around hugely varied worries and fears. For some, it can be a fear of leaving the house incase they are ridiculed on their appearance. For somebody it may be that you fear what could happen while you’re out, and recent global events certainly aren’t helping the matter. For me, I have a fear of fainting, which is triggered by the physical symptoms of a panic attack. Because anxiety disorders are so different, this means that tackling them is also just as different, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Most people who receive unmedicated help for anxiety are often taught CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) which although tackles varied forms of anxiety disorders, is often based around the same principle. For me, it was about challenging my thoughts and pushing my boundaries but for others this may not be the case.
In order to succeed you need to get to know your anxiety. Your first challenge should be focusing on what it is that scares you. Make a list, write everything down, even if it sounds so ridiculous. It doesn’t matter what you put on there because only you will read it. By doing this, you will get to know what your triggers are and what scares you the most. You’ll find out what parts of your day will be affected by anxiety and once you have this information you can start to figure out how to tackle things one by one.
Once you have your list, pick one thing you would like to challenge, place this into a scenario and this should be your one focus. It doesn’t have to be the hardest, it can be the easiest thing on the list, because by eventually conquering the smaller thing, you’re able to look at the harder things a little differently.
If you face anxiety as a whole, it can be overwhelming, and seem almost impossible to get your head around, start small, don’t put pressure on yourself and push yourself just that little bit. If your life is consumed by anxiety, you’ve nothing left to lose so you may as well try it.
Hope this helps, would be great to hear of your experiences and any other tips you might have!