Fighting My Anxiety

Originally Published on Medium - July 4, 2018

As many of you may know by now, I have struggled with anxiety all of my life, but in particular these past two years. It is not easy, but as I have started to turn the tide on my struggle, I feel more inclined to share my story and my experiences with you.

For right now, I want to pick a specific example, to try to illustrate that each and everyone one of us truly has control over our anxiety, and our mindset overall. The main problem with my anxiety is that it overpowers the rest of my mind, and it can sometimes be very hard to switch my way of thinking. It is easy to get caught in a certain mindset for days, weeks or even months.

Recently, I was hanging out with a friend for a couple of days. We spend a bunch of time together, and then went to a party as well. Parties are a bit mentally exhausting for me these days, so I was drained when we got back to his place, and grabbed a seat as he went to the washroom.

While waiting for him to come back, I thought to myself: “I hope he’s not mad he left early cause of me, I hope he’s not texting people talking about how lame I am.” These were my honest thoughts, I was sitting there, allowing my brain to run wild with anxious thoughts about what he thought about the situation of the day. In the past, those thoughts would remain, and linger until I eventually made myself leave, or anxiously asked him for validation that I was okay. This used to happen to me quite a lot, I would consistently need to confirm with my friends that it was okay for me to be there, that I wasn’t a burden. And the sad thing is, the more this happened, the more of a burden I actually became. It truly is a self fulfilling prophecy.

As I have worked through my anxiety though, with meditation, mindfulness, therapy and other tools, I have more and more learned that we are each in control of our thoughts, we decide how we let our brain think. And so on this day, I noticed my anxiety. I caught myself falling into bad thoughts and I consciously changed my mindset. I decided to think, “wow, that was really nice. I got to see some people and now I get to hang out even longer with a good friend. He’s just in the washroom and will be back and it’ll be great.”

It might seem like too simple a solution, to just change your thinking like that. I am here to tell you it is not simple at all. It has taken me 26 years of life, and 2 years of hard work, to get to the point where I can sometimes do that. It gets easier the more I practice, and better the more I see those positives thoughts to be true, and reflected in my life. It is possible, it is doable. You can get control of your thinking, you can put yourself in a positive headspace, you can beat your anxiety, whatever level it is at. If you aren’t winning right now, don’t worry. Literally, the worst thing you can do is blame yourself or get mad when you cannot make that shift. Allow yourself to sit with negative thoughts sometimes, but know they are impermanent, and eventually you will gain control. If I can do it, so can you.