This is going to be my most controversial post so far! Perhaps the biggest aspect to overcoming anxiety (and depression) is awareness. Awareness comes from education. Once you understand what anxiety and depression actually are, you can then start to make the steps towards eradicating it. And let me be very clear; they CAN be eradicated!! Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and very bad information knocking around, much of which has become “common knowledge”. This is one of the reasons anxiety and depression is getting WORSE in society. When myths such as “It’s a disease” and “a chemical imbalance” or “a genetic disorder” are now spoken as fact, it’s little wonder so many continue to struggle. They are not facts.
Another video blog for you today and this time I talk about awareness and why it is THE key ingredient to defeating anxiety (and changing your life in general). And never forget – anxiety CAN be defeated!
I knew this day would come. I couldn’t start a blog about anxiety without discussing what caused it. Although it’s been 5 years since it happened, I’ve still only ever talked to one person about it. That was a therapist and then, it was reluctantly. Now, I’m going to open up about what happened and how it affected me for the first time – and to the whole WORLD!!
I guess the only reason I can do this now is because mentally, I’m in a good place. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t forgive my attacker and probably never will. Many people will say that I need to forgive in order to fully move on. Maybe that’s true. Part of me actually would love nothing more than to get in a room with this guy and face him one to one in a fair, fully-clothed battle. Let’s see how he fares then. Right now, I don’t want to forgive. The only forgiving I really needed to do to move on, was with myself.
When I tell people that I used to be so anxious I barely left the house, struggled to speak, hated myself and was constantly paranoid about what total strangers were thinking about me, every single person is shocked. That’s because today, people see me as outgoing, outspoken, sociable and unafraid to do whatever I want. When I tell them that it took me just 1 hour of hypnotherapy to change to the way I am today, they can’t believe it! Neither could I, to be fair! But it’s the 100%, cast-iron truth. My mission is to get other people to understand that there are ways to completely eradicate social and generalised anxiety that they may not even have considered, or thought that there was no way they could work. So here is my hypnotherapy story.
In non-spiritual terms, that means I try to keep the negativity dragons at bay!
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Some days, it can be really tough to batten down the hatches and stop getting burned by the flames.
Yesterday was such a day.
Most days, I just hustle. That gets me through the day without even having the time to dwell on the past, feel sorry about the present or worry about the future.
But sometimes, no matter how grateful I am just to be alive, just to be able to live in a free and democratic country, just to have food in my stomach, clean clothes on my back and a warm bed to sleep in, I lose that battle.
I don’t lose the war.
I’ll never lose the war and that’s what’s crucial. I am too mentally strong to ever lose that war again.
But sometimes, the smoke from the dragon’s flames chokes me. Causes me to drop to my knees in weakness for a few hours.
For the past few years, since I struggled with post-traumatic anxiety, I have not been honest with myself. I’ve not been aligned with my true passions, loves or dreams, especially when it comes to work.
I’m a self-employed, work from home, financial trader. I’m self-taught and began learning during my second bout of anxiety, purely because it was something I didn’t have to leave the house to make money from!
My dream was always to make it my sole source of income but those goals have changed since my spiritual awakening of 2016. I finally admitted to myself that it was never going to fulfil me because it’s not something I love.
At times, I would say I even hated it.
However, I feel as though I have come so far with it, I can’t give up. And I need to pay the bills somehow. But I refuse to settle for second best now.
I believe we should all be trying to do work that we love.
In this internet era, where the whole world is our market and almost any passion you can think of can be turned into a source of income, there is no excuse for any of us to be doing something for 8+ hours a day that we don’t enjoy.
So it’s time I started moving towards adding another income source, something that will fulfill me.
As I mentioned in part 2, following my recovery from social anxiety, everything seemed to be going right for me.
I could do no wrong in almost every area of my life; relationships, money, health, career, socially, adventure. Even when something out of my control lead a to a negative, every single time, it lead directly onto something positive and often beyond my wildest expectations!
At the pinnacle of this high-life, I was backpacking through Asia and The Pacific by myself – something the anxious me would never have dared to do!
Little Timmy Phoenix was at the Taj Mahal! Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge! Riding camels and elephants! Climbing glaciers and Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings! Sitting on a totally secluded beach on a Pacific Island on Christmas Day! This was never in the plan!
So how on Earth, when everything was going so perfectly, did I end up having my left eye socket shattered, battered down a flight of stairs, head sliced open at the rear and running for my life following an unprovoked attack from a deranged man I had never even met before?
Today I’m taking a probably-not-that-well-earned break and letting the wonderful Kelly, otherwise known as Anxious Lass (from the lifestyle blog centred around mental health, of the same name), to do the work for me!
She’s written a great piece about her own struggles with anxiety and how she overcame them to become not-so-anxious lass. Once again, we see the same common themes among everyone who overcomes an anxiety disorder:
Get help and make the choice to eradicate it
Get off medication
Put in the work to get rid of it
Right, that’s enough from me. Take it away Kelly!
The Journey of Overcoming Social Anxiety
Being diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder is a tricky business. On the one hand, my diagnosis at 14 years of age helped me feel less “weird”, I finally had an answer to what was causing me so much pain and distress and it was a legitimate medical thing but on the other hand I felt like I’d just ran a marathon only to find a mountain to climb at the end of my route, instead of a finishing line and a medal.
I actually never intended to write that post. It was about the question “What do I want from life?” and kind of got derailed into a rant about how lonely I am!
I was frustrated because I see people complaining about their situation when they still at least have support and love in their life which I would kill for – certainly, it would have helped massively when I had anxiety.
But sometimes, you have to go with your heart.
Writing for me, is as much a cathartic process as it is to inform or to create. I want to help others; those with anxiety in particular but also anyone who is at rock-bottom or in a rut.
I now realise I have a lot of stuff I need to get off my chest! Things that I’ve never opened up to anyone else about. Being lonely is one of them. It wasn’t easy for me to write that post because, more than anything, it’s embarrassing to admit you have no close friends.
I think part of me also, if I’m honest, felt a little anger and jealousy.