I’ve started this blog because I want to help people the way I wish people had helped me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had incredible support from my family and friends and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but growing up, there’s a lot of things I wish people had told me about anxiety disorder.
- The first thing I wish I’d been told was what the heck anxiety disorder is and that it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain – that I wasn’t “crazy” or just an unreasonable person. But back then I didn’t understand that even when my mind knew a situation was going to be ok, my body continued to react like it was the end of the world. I didn’t understand why when something embarrassing happened, it would play over and over and over again in my head – even though I knew everyone else had long forgotten about it. It just didn’t make sense.
- Second, I wish I’d been told that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I always felt something was different with me but I didn’t know why. I could tell by the way other kids were so confident. They could get asked a question in class and their thoughts didn’t suddenly become cloudy. They didn’t start sweating or feel like their heart was going to beat out of their chest. Even if I knew the answer, it was lost as soon as the attention was put on me.
- Third, that it wasn’t something that could be cured – or something I would just grow out of as soon as I became an adult. Anxiety is a disorder and not a disease.
- The fourth thing was that alcohol was not the answer. I discovered alcohol at a young age. I got drunk for the first time at a party and thought it was my saviour. My constant feelings of fear and awkwardness suddenly disappeared and I could interact with others like a “normal” human being. The next morning, I suffered the consequences. This wasn’t a regular hangover – but constant replays of things I did or said while intoxicated that made me cringe. Over and over and over again.
- Last but certainly not least, I wish I’d been told to stop wishing I could get rid of my anxiety – because one day I would realize that anxiety played a huge role in becoming who I am today. While my disorder doesn’t define me, it is part of me. It’s made me empathetic. I’ve spent my life over-thinking and analyzing pretty much everything, which makes me extremely aware of how others think and feel. Anytime I had to do a presentation in school or at work, I well over-prepared to make sure that if I started panicking, the words would be engraved in my mind so I could recite them if I started shutting down. It’s a little exhausting but you know what – It’s made me pretty successful in my career. It taught me to work hard and I’m so proud of the things I have accomplished.
So if there’s one thing you take away from this, I hope it’s to love yourself – anxiety (or whatever it is you may be struggling with) and all. There will be good days and bad days. While I’ve gotten a better handle on things, there’s still days where I doubt myself. There’s days when my anxiety gets the best of me – but then there’s also days where I own my anxiety and I use it as fuel for success.
I hope this article was helpful to you! Please follow along for tips on managing anxiety, stress, boosting your confidence and improving your self-esteem. 🙂