My Experience with Anxiety and How I Survived It

Worth Living Ambassador Ayesha Noor

I started writing poetry as a way to cope with my anxiety and the tumultuous emotions it caused that wreaked havoc on my sanity. Word by word, and poem by poem, I slowly released the agony rioting in my mind. When I’m not writing poetry, one can often find me curled up with a book or watching the latest crime series like my life depends on it

My Experience with Anxiety and How I Survived It

I had been physically ill for four years. I spent every weekend that I was home from university going to doctors and trying to find a diagnosis that made sense. When instead I could have been hanging out with my friends, like most people my age were doing. Week after week, appointment after appointment, my disappointment grew until I was crying more often than not. I got a few short reprieves where the symptoms abated and hope swelled in my chest, that maybe just maybe, I would be okay after all. But alas, that was not the case. The illness returned time and time again until my mind couldn’t handle it any longer. Thus, my health anxiety was born.

Once the anxiety started, it wasn’t just that particular recurring illness that would trigger it. The slightest symptom, the slightest feeling of not feeling exactly right and my mind took off and I was spiraling for hours until it culminated in a panic attack. On the days I was stronger, I’d fight the anxiety for a couple of days before my mind broke under the constant pressure. It’s hard to tell which was worse, fighting the anxiety for so long or giving in right away so that I could feel the calm after the storm. Both were their own kind of agony. It hurt to not have a panic attack, but it hurt even more to have one. Either choice ended the same, with a panic attack. The agony was so strong and so severe it hurt all the way down to my soul. The kind of pain that makes you want to give up on living. The kind of pain that makes it seem like there’s only one option. The kind of pain which turns you into a blubbering, nonfunctional mess. The kind of pain that cripples your mind, body, heart, and soul.

Luckily, I had just enough bravado left in me to ask for help. I contacted a therapist and set up an appointment and the rest is history. Although it definitely wasn’t as easy as 1,2,3. Healing is a process that takes time, effort, and patience. But it is more than worth it. Along with therapy, I made lifestyle changes. Changes that not only helped my physical health but also my mental health. I started going to the gym at least four times a week, doing yoga three times a week, and eating healthier. Routine is good. It means you have things to do and less time to think. Therefore, fewer chances for the anxiety to take hold. Finding a healthy outlet for the turbulent emotions anxiety caused was a huge relief. What works for me is writing poetry. By writing about my anxiety, I am able to control the uncontrollable.

Don’t get me wrong, my life definitely isn’t perfect. I still have bad days; days where I want to curl up in bed and stay there all day. But there are more good days than bad days, and the good days outweigh the bad. And when the bad days come around, I just hold on to the knowledge that being okay, being happy, and being healthy is possible. I know this because I’ve lived it. Just remember you are only human. If you fall, pick yourself up again. Falling is okay, as long as you don’t stay on the ground.

My advice would be to find a regimen that works for you. Find a creative outlet for your anxiety. It doesn’t have to be writing and it doesn’t have to be perfect.  You’re doing it for you, not for anyone else. I’m sure whatever you chose, it will be spectacular in its own way. After all, you know what they say about creativity and the troubled mind. Don’t be ashamed if you have to take medication. Do whatever it takes to get you back to feeling like yourself. The new, healthy, and happy you. Because at the end of the day all that matters is you and your health. This is one instance in which you shouldn’t be afraid to be selfish. In fact, it is necessary.

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