As the title states, if you struggle with anxiety, in any form, that being OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks, PTSD, anything... this MyTake article is the only thing you will ever have to read again in order to recover. No, you do not need therapists, medication, and coping strategies. Let me explain...
First, A bit about me...
I'm a 25 year old male who has struggled with anxiety for most of my life. In hindsight, when I think about my fear of water slides as a very young child, which was the fear of entering the tunnel to somehow get trapped inside or never come out the other end, I chalked that up to childhood innocence and well, stupidity for lack of a better word. BUT, I now think it was an early indicator of my anxiety struggles to come. Struggling with overwhelming fear about irrational things was to become a large part of my future.
Fast-forward a few years.. when I was in middle school, I suddenly found myself not being able to talk without gagging. I immediately thought something was wrong, I had to see a doctor. But, of course, the doctor assured that I had no physical problem. Still this lasted for months on end. Soon after, for many years I struggled with certain OCD themes, many to do with my identity and obsessing over "what if" thoughts about who I was, others were about me obsessing over contracting particular diseases. And a little over a year ago is when it became the worst it has ever been... I suffered my first panic attack and developed a full blow panic disorder.
I would have panic attacks every day, I could not think straight, I could not leave the house, I could not work, I could not do anything & I became borderline suicidal at the prospect of feeling the way I was feeling for the rest of my life. That's when I studied. I studied everything I could about anxiety, what it actually is, and how to ACTUALLY recover, and...
I recovered from my lifelong anxiety from implementing what I learned over the course of my year. It doesn't involve medications, therapists, doctors, meditating, NONE of the things you've heard, maybe even tried. These things can all help calm your symptoms temporarily.. but they are NOT a fix. I'm going to tell you what you need to do, if you suffer from anxiety.
Let me just very briefly describe what anxiety is, and why it is caused. If you struggle with anxiety, it means that you have an inherited personality trait which gives you the ability to THINK your way into anxiety. This personality trait doesn't mean that you have to suffer with anxiety, it means it gives you the possibility to if you use it the wrong way... which is what you have been doing, unconsciously using this trait the wrong way.
This personality trait is a mixture of hypersensitive personality trait and something I call creative intellect. If you've inherited a sensitive personality trait, it just means you are aware of the world and your surroundings more-so than other people. This makes your ability to focus on things that most people wouldn't notice a possibility. & creative intellect means you have inherited a great ability to think, it does not mean you're a great artist, a master poet, a great musician, or that you have amounted to anything at all. It simply means that you have an extraordinary ability to think outside the box and think about possibilities that other people wouldn't have thought of, whether you realizer that or not.
So, their is a part of your brain called the Amygdala which is entirely responsible for the feelings of fear and anxiety. This part of our brain was evolved to keep us safe, let me give ylu an example.
If you were a caveman, gathering berries in the woods, and you turned around to find a Sabertooth Tiger staring at you growling and drooling from the mouth... your fear response AKA the Amygdala would be immediately activated. This is called the fight or flight response, you have probably heard of it.
When your Amygdala is triggered due to a perceived threat, it sets in motion many mechanisms that are designed to keep you alive from the threat. Your heart starts racing to pump blood and oxygen to your extremities, muscles and limbs so you can run fast and have extra strength, adrenaline is pumped through the blood for the same reason.. but here is the one thing that happens that most people fail to mention... the fight or flight response triggers "what if" thoughts.
So if you're in front of a perceived threat such as a sabertooth tiger, your mind starts racing "what if I run" "what if I fight" "what if I knock it over the head with this stick" "what if it hurts me" your brain is makes hundreds of these "risk assessment' thoughts in seconds. It is a normal function of an activated amygdala.
So why do you struggle?
Well, once the threat is gone, you should forget about it and within 10-15 minutes your body returns back to balance. This is the normal fear response
You have a fear response that has become a disorder because of your creative intellect, the personality trait that you inherited.
What happened was, at some point in your life, before you were anxious, you had a normal fear response to something, you may never know what it was, but you did. And because of your creative intellect, your mind continued finding things to worry about by asking "risk assessment" "what if" thoughts after the perceived threat was already gone.
If you were stood in front of a tiger, but it ran away, because your fear response was still turned on in conjunction with your creative intellect and sensitive personality, your brain continued to find things that it perceived as a threat. Maybe it turned inward and looked at your symptoms and thought "my heart is beating really hard.. what if i'm having a heart attack?" "what if i'm dying?" "what if i'm losing my mind?"
It's these "what if" thoughts that are keeping you in the anxiety loop, and you are wiring your brain to stay anxious and primed and looking for threats the more and more you do this and engage with it.
Every time you have a "what if" thought, and you react fearfully to it, you have just taught your brain and amygdala that it is a real threat, so it is going to keep sending you the thoughts to keep you safe, to make sure you're aware, so you know. This is the survival mechanism of our brain.
So, if you get a thought "what if I have cancer?" and it makes you anxious, and you REACT to that thought by googling symptoms, constantly visiting the doctor, or overthinking and over analyzing, you have just shown your brain that it IS a real threat, and in order to keep you safe from that threat, it is going to keep sending you the same thought until you feel safe from it. But the problem is, because it is not a real threat, you cannot find your safety from it due to it's irrationality, and therefore you are stuck in a cycle that never ends. This is all caused by how you react to your "what if thoughts" which will keep your anxiety levels high, you will feel all of the symptoms of anxiety, and worry about everything.
This is exactly what all forms of anxiety are. Anxiety is a fear response that shouldn't be turned on, and your brain is looking for threats that do not exist, so it makes things up to be worried about, your brain will always find something. This is a problem you have unconsciously created in your subconscious mind, medication cannot cure it, therapy cannot cure it, there is only one thing that can cure it. Which is to rewire your brain to NOT be anxious.
Remember how I said, it is your REACTIONS to your thoughts and feelings that are keeping you in an anxious loop. Well that's the cure...
CHANGE YOUR REACTIONS
If you get a thought "what if I die from some horrible disease?" or "What if i'm having a heart attack?" Any form of what if thought.. DO NOT
Analyze it, overthink it, google symptoms, ask for reassurance, ANYTHING you might do to deal with your anxiety, do not do it. Instead,
Acknowledge your thought, and the anxious feelings that go along with it, accept it, and then carry on and do something else, keep busy. What this will do, over time, is teach your brain and amygdala that these things are not real threats, they do not bother you, and they do not need to be in the forefront of your mind, and do you know what your brain will do? it will give you the thoughts and feelings less and less and less, until it's completely gone. The key to this working is staying consistent, you must continue to refuse to engage with your anxious thoughts and feeling and just let them be and move on, do not give it any reaction whatsoever. If you do this consistently, day after day, your anxiety will go away. it may take a month, it might take 3 months, it may take 6 month, it may even take up to a year.
It all depends on how bad your anxiety is, and how consistent you are with changing your anxious behaviours and reactions.
you see, anxiety is commonly misunderstood as a mental health disorder. It isn't. There is actually nothing wrong with your brain, it is working perfectly.
Anxiety is a behavioural disorder. You must change your reactions and you will change your brain. In the face of anxious feelings, don't add fuel to the fire by analyzing, over thinking, googling, etc. Just accept it, and carry on, do nothing about it. Don't even try to make it go away, because this teaches your brain that you are scared and therefore it gives you more anxiety.
Even though you have anxious thoughts, and feelings, if you can stop all of your anxious behaviours and reactions to those thoughts and feelings, your brain will learn over time.
This is how I cured myself, and this is how everyone who has ever recovered has cured themselves.
If you have questions, comment them below. I hope this will help someone. I wrote this very fast and it may be a little hard to follow but if you can do as I say, you will get better, as simple as that.