Why I Had To Stop Fearing Anxiety

For as long as I could remember I viewed anxiety as an enemy. Something that had bullied me since a child. A nagging voice. Something that had slowly taken a tight grip on my life.

At first I did not understand anxiety, I did not understand the overwhelming feelings of worry and dread and the irrational thoughts that had filled my head over the years. As a child I would lay awake frozen by fear and nightmare thoughts. My parents had gone out for the evening but what if something happened to them? What if they had gotten into an accident and died?

I became in a constant state of anxiety and hyper awareness, looking out for dangers before they could happen and believing that I could somehow stop them.

As I grew into my teenage years my anxiety manifested itself into depression and anger. I became confused by my own feelings, often unable to control them which swiftly followed on with bouts of frustration and sadness. I suddenly became superstitious, believing that if I walked over three drains on the pavement something horrendous would happen or if I came across the number 13 I had to cancel that number out and don’t even get me started on if I had walked under a ladder in the street.

After all those years I was actually showing early signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. An anxiety disorder fuelled by unwanted thoughts and doubts.

As my anxiety grew stronger over the years, so did my thoughts. A 24 hour loop of unwanted sexual, harmful thoughts and images flickering through my head, my anxiety eating me away, taking my life bit by bit.

For as long as I could remember I had viewed anxiety as something abnormal, something I had associated with the worst times of my life. I began to fear the feeling, not allowing one little ounce of anxiety to creep in. The stomach churns petrified me, I avoided anything anxiety induced, anything which made the uncomfortable feelings creep back in. I could not face it, it became a phobia. I stopped going out, I stopped seeing friends, I stopped living my life.

What I did not realise was that anxiety was actually something that had been with me through the good times as well as the bad. It had been with me on my first day at university, my first day at my new job, my first date with my boyfriend. It was something that had stopped me from making mistakes, something that had made me step back from the wrong situations.

I had to learn that anxiety was in fact a normal human reaction, it was something that would never go. It was an emotion that was built within me, within all of us and acceptance of this had to be key to start my recovery.

I had to view it as a friend, a gauge for my health and for my wellbeing. It was not something to fear but something that I had to learn to live alongside. I had to be aware of when anxiety was starting to take over and also when it was there as a completely normal response. I knew it would take time, a long time but it had to be done.

It was something I would learn to control when it was bad but to let it be there in the right situations.

It is now something that I hope to eventually learn to accept as part of me.