In 2018, I had been living with anxiety for nine years, which compounded with workplace stress had affected my wellbeing, growth, and productivity.
I spent years working on myself, on medications and practiced every method possible to be free of my anxiety. Through the years I experienced many different types of fears from fear of driving, flying, fainting, open spaces, being alone, pregnancy, and many others. My anxiety became debilitating and at one point I even became agoraphobic, which is fear of leaving the house.
I finally recovered from anxiety in 2018 with the help of therapy, tools I had learned over years of research, and the book, “DARE: The new way to end anxiety and stop panic attacks fast” by Barry McDonagh which I talk about in my TEDx Talk titled, “Go Spaghetti: Overcoming Anxiety” which you can watch on youtube: https://youtu.be/HAEIMLnCSAk
I learned that I may have intrusive thoughts, but I have full control over my actions. I learned to accept reality as it is and not resist it. I learned to not push away my thoughts but accept them and release them. I learned to let go of fear.
I recommend keep pushing out of your comfort zone (do small steps, if anything, but keep taking steps forward). Feel the fear and do it anyway! Eventually, I realized that anxiety is just sensations, feelings, and thoughts. “I am safe and it will pass,” is what I would repeat to myself.
I learned that anxiety is a lot about self-care, and it makes a big difference (working out, meditation, yoga, sleeping, and eating right are the bare minimum requirements). All of these helped me on my road to recovery.
I can drive confidently now, I have flown on a 14-hour flight and many other flights since my fear started, I have been on the tallest building of the world– the Burj Khalifa! I did a TEDx Talk on a stage in front of hundreds of people about my journey with anxiety and the tools I used to recover. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it. Yes, I still experience anxiety at times, but I don’t have the same intense response and it goes away within seconds. I sit with the feeling, I accept it, I don’t react, and it passes very quickly. However, to get to this point, it took a lot of work, practice, and pushing outside my comfort zone – but I did it!
This article was first published here.