As my heart raced I clenched my fists trying to control the incoming panic attack which was threatening to take me over. I could feel my skin becoming hot and prickly and the knot in my gut get hard and bigger as a I tried not to think about how weird I must look to everyone stood around me.
What was the problem? I was only in a pub with friends so why the anxiety? God I am going mad, like really mad. It didn’t make any sense at all and yet here I was hardly able to breathe and dying to just leave so I could get myself back to normal. I did my standard going to the loo trick and snuck out back home, saying goodbye only meant having to justify leaving and that led to an awkwardness I wanted to avoid. So with another night cut short, I found myself walking home in the darkness alone, angry at what happened but relieved to be out of there.
It was times like this which led me to try and stay in more as I worried that going out meant that this would happen again and despite being lonely, it meant that at least I was safe.
Looking back at times like this I can remember the key ingredient to indulging in my anxiety and obeying the lie that I was in danger and that was the feeling of powerlessness. Feeling powerless can have a real impact on our mental health and looking back through my history I wonder if it was moments of feeling powerless in various situations which led to my anxiety issues increasing to very unhealthy levels. I have to be kind of grateful though as that level of anxiety could have broken me, it very nearly did but something inside wasn’t that keen on giving up and it led to me to exploring and experimenting with tools, strategies and therapies in my search for ways to change anxiety forever.
What I came across was shockingly simple but very effective, for example no-one told me that breathing properly changes the biology of anxiety and helps you get back control. Combine that with a few other tools and that feeling of powerlessness is replaced with a quiet confidence in managing negative thoughts and the physical symptoms which can come at any time in any place.
That changed my life forever as I felt more in control than I have had before. I also began to see anxiety and negativity as something which can bring the best out of us and change our lives for the better and I am very lucky with how life has worked out for me now I have these tools and my passion in life is passing these on to others who I am sure pass them on again too.
What tends to stop people getting help is that they think therapy is for weird, weak or people worse off from them. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, it takes huge strength to go and get help, I admire everyone who turns up asking for help. Add to that how precious life is and how limiting the lies of anxiety can be and you have even more reasons to wake up to life instead of sleep walking in a trance of anxiety reacting to whatever comes your way.