So here’s how I overcame my fear… Not my fear of heights, not my fear of demonic horror film children, but the fear of day to day life. My story starts as a young boy. Always anxious, always afraid of the ‘what if’s’.
So much so that I missed out on so many opportunities that I might not get again. I was so anxious every second of the day even before I knew what ‘anxiety’ was or that the feeling even had a name.
I remember thinking to myself ‘I’ll always feel this way’, afraid and feeling lonely. It seemed impossible to me that I could ever change, mainly because anxious thoughts were all I had ever known. I became so fearful through school, college, and eventually at work. Always feeling down about myself and unconfident.
One day I’d had enough. I didn’t know how I’d change the way I was but I knew there must be away.
Anyone can change, right? My ultimate fear was living a life of anxiety and depression.
I knew that I didn’t want to live the rest of my life the way I had been and so that fear motivated me to change. Instead of letting it cripple me, I harnessed it to swing my mind back around and into a productive state. Here’s how I saw it. There were these two options;
Be depressed forever Or Use the fear. The compounding effect of multiple years of anxiety on my brain reached a critical mass where I didn’t care about feeling stupid or exposed anymore.
I was going to overcome my fear one way or the other. I was determined. You see, I think everyone needs to reach what I call a ‘critical mass’ where the way you feel goes beyond depressed and into ridiculousness. When you reach that point like I did, it becomes a joke that you’ve lived that way for so long.
Not a ‘haha’ joke but more a ‘Do I seriously want to live that way forever?’ kind of joke. When you can step back and look at yourself you can start to get a bit of perspective on things. I overcame my fear of a life of anxiety by doubling down on productive activities. It was only when I took the ‘risk’ to do what I truly wanted that I felt mentally free. I started to learn that most people are afraid of being judged by others and so they never really try for what they really want.
I realized when I stepped back to look at my life, I had become side-tracked. I was living on autopilot ignoring what my mind craved. This meant making time for what I was passionate about. Not going to bed late, waking early, going to school, watching TV all evening, and repeating the cycle. You have to say enough is enough. A mundane cycle of life is enough to give anyone an anxiety disorder.
Yes, we have responsibilities however when I remembered back to my childhood self, I didn’t have the same levels of fear that I ended up having in my early teens. So that was it. I was going to carve out the life I wanted because I knew that no-one could change my life but for me. Not my mum, not my dad, not my teacher. Only you can do that. But you have to want it.
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