What many of you don’t know about me, is that I used to suffer from severe anxiety. My anxiety was so bad that it was controlling my life in a great way. It was happening during my early to almost late twenties, where my friend’s lives were mostly filled with adventures, parties, holidays and the joys of being carefree young adults. I couldn’t join them. My daily life was filled with dark thoughts, panic attacks, thinking about death and being so frightened, whether and how I would survive another day. Everything was a challenge, even the smallest of tasks. Queuing in a supermarket, going to a library, practically being at any public place was putting me into the states of panic and discomfort. My life was filled with severe stress, depression and perceiving the world with a constant foggy sensation on my mind. Was that a living? Not really. But, now I look at it differently. I look at this experience from a higher perspective. Living with anxiety for more than a while taught me so much about myself, my life and most importantly, because of it, I found my life’s purpose, which is being of service to others.
***Before you read further***
Please note, that this isn’t a medical advice. Always seek a health care professional, who will be happy to assist you with any concerns. However, I always like to share what I have learned from my difficult experiences, and how I shifted my life from darkness to light, with a belief that reading about them will help someone.
So, here is what I’ve learned:
When we are trying to push something away and don’t want it in our lives, a great amount of resistance can be felt. It feels overwhelming and can take over our lives, so we are unable to see any kind of light. This is how I dealt with my anxiety. I was resisting it. I didn’t want to be feeling anxious. I was fighting my unpleasant emotions every minute of every day. But one day, after about 4 years of daily struggle to be exact, I experienced a beautiful shift which changed my life forever. I came to a realisation to accept my feelings. It felt like finally seeing a beautiful sunrise after a long, dark winter. Ever since I accepted my feelings my life began to shift. Of course, on a very small scale, but there was an improvement. I realised it was okay to feel how I was feeling at that particular moment in time. I decided to stop obsessing about my physical symptoms, instead, I’ve decided to accept them as part of me. As they were part of me, they didn’t need my judgement, rather my nourishment and my compassion. I began feeling liberated.
2) To find something beautiful in every day
I began noticing the small things in life, the things that we often take for granted. I started being grateful for all the wonderful blessings that surrounded me and decided to find something beautiful in every day. Then, something magical happened. I would be very grateful when something made me happy, even if it was just for 5 minutes. Slowly, minutes turn into hours and hours into days. I remember so clearly when I could say, today was a good day. I will treasure that moment forever and still remember it very clearly.
3) To breathe properly
My breathing used to be shallow, short, panicky and it felt like a difficult task. Living with anxiety taught me to slow down, tune inward and learn how to breathe properly. It taught me to pause several times a day, notice my breathing and how it affected my posture, my energy levels and my overall wellbeing. Daily moments of stillness and meditation also deepened the connection to my breath.
4) To love myself
I learnt to love myself fully. I learnt to love and appreciate myself for who I am. I stopped pretending and trying to accepted by others, instead I fully accepted myself and began to finally love myself. I realised, I am the most important person in my own life, who deserves to be looked after and given a priority too. I learnt that this is not selfish, but it’s an act of self-love and respect I was craving for many years. Now, I love myself fully, even the ‘flaws’ I used to dislike. They are part of me and they make me who I am. I feel free and so much happier.