Anxiety Saved My Life

It’s no secret that mental health is a buzzword these days. Thanks to ever progressive movements, the negative stigmas surrounding the different realities that people face are morphing positively so that help is much more easier to access- in a variety of different platforms.

Anxiety is one of these realities that millions of people are subjected to, and one of the most common mental illnesses in society today. Anxiety can show itself in a myriad of different ways, from generalized worrying or fear from anything in your day-to-day life, to panic disorder caused by the overwhelming sensation that immediate danger is imminent. While there are a variety of reasons why someone might be familiar with these feelings, a large majority of people feel these wrenching emotions that are predicated on the fear of the future. This is the basis of anxiety, as the stress and fear is based on something upcoming that someone feels they are not fully prepared for or simply feel as as though they won’t be able to handle it. While there are tons of reasons as to why someone might feel these feelings as entirely negative, the notions of positivity that may stem from them are not often thought about- or completely unrealized.

Anxiety entered my life shortly after the transition to adulthood from a teenager, mostly in the form of a panic disorder. Before I knew it, I had a whole host of different things that had unwittingly become triggers for me. Certain situations, no matter how comfortable (or happy) I felt, would induce these overwhelming feelings that my body was under the risk of immediate harm. Everyone has felt these feelings of anxiety at some point or other- a clammy cold sweat, elevated heart rate, sometimes a tingly sensation. What I thought I came to realize was that these feelings were caused by my lifestyle, which I admit, was not conducive to a healthy body. Some of this ranged from drinking without moderation both in quantity and frequency, and even more frowned upon habits, such as drugs- and not just the one you’d find in a brownie or a cookie made by that guy who is always riding around on a longboard. This rapid lifestyle took me into a whole world of relatively habitual use of a few substances, and until I met a real repercussion, I really had no inclination to slow down. This is where anxiety comes in.

Β I came to blame these habits on the way I lived my life and as someone motivated for personal growth, this inspired a lot of forced maturation on my part. My anxiety grew to the point where a day of panic was inevitable following a night of drinking, with no real reason behind it other than it just seemed to be the price I had to pay for being hungover. These utterly repetitive nights of drinking lasted for much longer than the phase where drug use was just as frequent as alcohol. Based on this newfound panic, making the choice to leave those alone became entirely easier. Accompanying this, my excessive nights of binge-drinking saw a drastic reduction, partly due to maturation, but mostly because of the anxiety that seemed to trail undesirably after it. While ridding these habits might seem like a logical no-brainer, cutting out anything habitual in your lifestyle is never an easy task. And while it also might seem completely trivial, I can thank anxiety for presenting me with something powerful enough to truly push me away from it.

My anxiety still exists with me today, and while I’m not fundamentally worried or nervous about certain situations/fearful of everything, my body is still familiar with feelings of relatively unexplained anxiousness that can’t really be linked to anything in particular. What I’ve come to understand is that this will be a part of me for the rest of my life, and as someone who’s personally inspired to be positive, there are many things to take from this. Yes, sometimes my anxiety will make me uncomfortable; both mentally and physically. Yes, sometimes the bodily sensations aren’t fun. But as hard as it is to believe, there are positives that come with this. The flurry of different thoughts brought on by perpetually overthinking things can be used to your advantage. It may sound laughable, but things that some people may overlook will have been thought by you over a hundred different ways, and you’d best believe that it can be an advantage. It might feel as if you have no control over these thoughts- learning to accept this and be okay with them will aid you in living with them. Also, don’t think for a second that the flood of different thoughts and ideas streaming through your mind isn’t good for building a more intelligent consciousness; these thoughts are a vehicle to think about things you may have never even considered before. While this might seem ridiculous at first, coming to understand it and adopting it entirely can help you learn to view that your anxiety is working alongside you, not a foe pitted against you. The important thing to understand is that everyone’s reality is different, and how you choose to live with yours is up to you.

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