Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How I Conquered Anxiety

Someone asked me today, "how did you overcome your anxiety?".  This is tough one for me to answer.  There were several steps that I took over a period of many months that got me to the other side.  After suffering from uncontrollable anxiety for decades, it simply disappeared one day, but not until I had put in several progressive months for it to happen.

It was hard work I will admit, yet what I found on the other side was a sense of peace that was quite overwhelming at first.  I quite literally felt like something was missing inside of me and it was creepy.  Something I had lived with for so many years had become a part of me, for the good or the bad.  Once it was gone, I spent a few weeks readjusting my existence.  I became calmer and more in touch with the world, as well as became a nicer person to be around.  Peace does good things to us.

I still feel anxiety once in a while, but it no longer has any power over me.  I can take a few deep breaths or meditate briefly and it disappears again.  Some of the methods I used have been used by others I have shared them with, and their anxiety has lessened or disappeared as well.  They were ready to overcome it at the time, and willing to put the work into taking control of their anxious feelings.

So how did I overcome it?  First of all, remind yourself that these were methods which worked for me and helped me back onto my more positive path, and may not mesh with yours.  It is simply my hope that I have discovered some good ideas in an effort to cure anxiety, and I would like to share them with others to ease their suffering as well.

I began my journey with discovering the present moment, and I will thank Eckhart Tolle for giving me a lot of help along the way with the wonderful, enlightened books he has written.  Once I discovered mindfulness and grounding myself in the present moment, I no longer worried about the past or the future, only for a few moments at first, but with practice it got better and better.

I had been given prescription pills for over 2 decades to deal with my anxiety, and I was completely dependent on them, and did not even know it.  When I discovered the present moment I realized that the pills were never going to fix my problems, and that they were merely a band-aid.  I had never looked at the underlying issues that were causing the anxiety in the first place, so I never actually solved the issues, I was just masking them with prescribed drugs.

I won't lie to you, going off of the pills after all those years was a horrible stretch.  I certainly understand what withdrawal feels like, and I will never put myself through that again.  I am not advocating that you stop taking pills, I am simply stating that was the choice I made at the time, and it worked for me.

Once the withdrawal symptoms passed, I began to notice something odd, I was thinking more clearly than I had every before in my life.  It was like a fog lifted from my brain that had been hanging there for many years.  With more clarity of thought, I became much more mindful of my environment, and saw things with much more objective eyes.  When my anxiety sprang up at this point, I began looking at it for the first time I could remember.

I began to face the feelings of fear all of a sudden,  There were some nasty feelings experienced through this stretch of time, but I began to conquer the fears that the anxiety was bringing to me.  This went on for a few weeks and each day I could feel my 'conditioning' working.  By processing the anxiety bringing thoughts, I was becoming mentally stronger each day.  All of a sudden, one day I took control.

It felt quite uncomfortable at first, but I had become mentally strong enough to let go and take control at the same time.  It took some long periods of meditation to get this point, and I found the ultimate fear of opposites waiting there.  I had resolved all of the anxiety-causing inner conflicts except for this one; how do we as a singular being let go and hold on to something at the same time?

If you want to experience the present moment, you can't dwell in the past or ponder the future.  Depression comes from the past and anxiety comes from our perceived thoughts of the future, so if you are suffering from either, you are missing out on the present moment.  The present moment is the only place that peace can truly exist.  By discovering this, I was able to overcome my anxiety naturally through a dissociation with the past or future.

If I let go of my attachment to the past, and face my thoughts of impending doom in the future, I can find my way back to the present.  The more that I live in the present, the less I suffer from depression or anxiety.  I was able to let go of my fears of the future and my anxiety simply went away.  When I get feelings of anxiety now, I use it as fuel to do something productive.  I can channel it into something positive, and right now I choose to share my story with others here, and hopefully find a way to 'play my part' in a very large worldwide problem.

Since then I have been able to dig deeper and work on the issues I have left in my past, which I was not able to do before.  Now that I am resolving the bulk of them once again, my feelings of empathy return and drive me forward once again in a positive way.  I am here to advocate and bring understanding to others about the horrible effects that anxiety and depression can have on a person.

There is a cure for anxiety and depression, so there is always hope.  Take a small step each day right now and get started on your own progressive journey to the present moment.  Put in the effort and reap the rewards!