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Recognising and learning about my anxiety

Jasmine talks about her personal journey to learn more about managing her anxiety


Written by Jasmine Foley and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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Around this time 3 years ago, I had locked myself in a hotel room in Belgium over fear that there was no way I would make it home. I didn’t want to be there, but I didn’t want to move either. I was terrified. I never wanted to travel again. It’s hard to know what actually happened to put me in this state of panic, but the feeling had been creeping up on me for a while. This was the moment that I realised that something needed to change, and that this was not the way I wanted to live my life.

Anxiety had crept up on me so slowly that I didn’t even realise what had happened. I was so convinced that the world was terrifying and that something terrible was going to happen to me, that I thought it was normal. I kept myself busy with work and university, and convinced myself that everyone else felt the same. The stress of the months leading up to my trip all came to a boiling point on that day.

It was the lowest point of my life, but also a turning point that forced me to build myself up again. It was going to be difficult but I was determined. For a few months, I battled hard against my anxiety and tried to push the anxious thoughts out of my mind. I thought that if I tried hard enough, I would be able to force my brain and body to revert back to how I was feeling before the anxiety took hold. It didn’t work.

The realisation that I needed to understand and accept my anxiety was my first step in getting better. I started seeing a counsellor who helped me to understand my thoughts and feelings, and provided me with different coping mechanisms. I also started reading books about anxiety and mindfulness such as ‘The Anxiety Solution: A Quieter Mind, A Calmer You’ by Chloe Brotheridge. There was no quick fix. It took patience and perseverance, and the changes were small and slow. I began to understand what happens to my body when anxiety hits. The more I understood about it, the less it seemed like the scary, huge dark cloud over my life.

My anxiety hadn’t gone, but I started to learn to live with it. Rather than trying to block out my anxious thoughts, I let them in and then let them go. Instead of fearing my anxiety, I faced it.

One year later, I set out on a road trip to four different countries. It was something that I thought I would never be able to do again. Don’t get me wrong, it came with it’s challenges, but I did it. In actual fact, I think the worry of becoming anxious was the worst part.

Three years on from that experience, and my life has changed dramatically. I have travelled further, done things that I never thought I would and found that happy, care-free girl that I’d been before. Don’t get me wrong, my anxiety sometimes pays me a visit and life isn’t always easy, but the journey of learning about myself has given me a new outlook.

My journey towards living an anxiety-free life has shown me the importance of self-care and development, even when you don’t think you need to. Pick up that self-development book, take that mindfulness course, or talk to someone about anything you might be feeling. Treat every day as another opportunity to shape a happier and healthier you.

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Published April 17th2019
Last updated Octo­ber 19th2019
Tags opinion anxiety mental health
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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