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The biggest lessons I’ve learned from anxiety

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I knew I wanted to write today, but about what was the daunting question. I always thought looking up writing prompts was a cop out, but today I see how beneficial they are. They can spark the thoughts that are buried in your mind trying to make their way to the surface. I turned to Pinterest and found one that did just that: The biggest lessons I’ve learned from anxiety are…

You never know what someone’s dealing with

I can remember times when, from the outside, I looked like a perfectly normal individual carrying on a light-hearted conversation with co-workers, but on the inside every fight or flight instinct was activated. My mouth would form the words, but my thoughts were clouded with trying to find an escape route. I thought I would pass out at times, and when I finally found a way to exit the conversation, it would take me all day to recover my emotions. If you have ever dealt with a panic attack, you know exactly what I’m talking about. These moments made me realize that everyone has an internal battle and you should never assume you know their full story. Be patient with your thoughts and kind with your words.

Take medical advice with caution

I used to put far too much faith into a person based on the fact they had Dr. written before their name. This is by no means a knock on doctors, I have only the utmost respect for individuals who pursue this profession, but you know yourself far better than any medical professional. When I first became aware of my anxiety I, like many, had no idea what it was. I went to numerous doctors looking to find a textbook definition of what I was experiencing. A neurologist tried to point to deeper rooted psychological issues, and it took some time before someone could tell me it was generalized anxiety. As I started to research the issue on my own, I found YouTubers, bloggers and motivational speakers who had the exact “symptoms” I felt. Had I taken everything each doctor wanted to prescribe to me, I would be on a far too many medications for the wrong problems.

Change takes time

It took me several years before I felt confident in my relationship with anxiety. There were a lot of ups and downs and I now accept the strength it gave me. It gave me strength to persevere, to change my mindset, and to stop living in fear of the next panic attack. I now have a mind full of healthy coping mechanisms and I don’t feel the rush of adrenaline I used to when I felt anxiety creeping in. I feel it, I accept it, and I refocus on a book, a run, or simply my next breathe to stop a panic attack before it can begin. Do I think this method is foolproof? Of course not. I know I need to continue adding skills and lifestyle changes to remain in control, but change takes time and is ever-evolving.

Anxiety taught me to be more gentle with myself and to be in-tune with what I was feeling, but not dwell. What lessons has anxiety taught you?

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
-Benjamin Franklin

 

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