Alex Wilson is a professional writer, certified Yoga Teacher, and Ayurvedic Specialist. She is passionate about empowering people to take their mental health into their own hands. In the last 7 years, she has grown from self-conscious and anxious to self-assured and confident. Now she runs anxiousyogi.com to help others do the same.
When I was 27, My General Practitioner diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It was quick, and it was easy. I went to see her with complaints of anxious feelings and panicked behavior that were impacting my ability to work. Within 5 minutes I was diagnosed and had an official piece of paper for a prescription that was stamped, signed and ready to be delivered. And then, before I knew it, she was gone – out the door – ready to check off the next patient on her list. Meanwhile, I sat there at the table, cold, alone, and feeling completely unsupported. What else did I expect? That’s how most medical practices are run these days. Review complaints, diagnose, prescribe, done.
It is my belief that this exact situation, and the 1000’s of others just like it, play a huge role in the anguish that is endured as a result of anxiety and other mental health disorders around the world. We aren’t getting the attention we deserve or the support we need. We aren’t being talked to about what might be the cause of all this anxiety, or what we can do to change it. In my opinion, the ‘here, take this medicine’ approach just isn’t working. It isn’t enough.
We need new ways to treat anxiety
Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are people out there who do really well with medication, and I think that’s great. But there are just as many of us who don’t see results from medicine, or aren’t comfortable with it, or just want something a little more than that. I want to see studies on more natural ways of managing anxiety. To see doctors and therapists working with patients to get to the root causes of the disorders. I want to see professionals working to help their patients develop lifestyle plans that work for their needs. What we really need is support. Not to just be swept aside with empty promises that a pill will help “fix the broken chemistry in our brains.”
We are not broken
That’s not what I believe. I think that instead, we are being forced to live a way of life that doesn’t work for us. Or we have past traumas that we haven’t been able to process or figure out how to cope with. I believe that we are lonely because we are so disconnected from any sense of community. We are constantly being force fed messages of ‘you are not enough, buy this product to fix yourself’.
We are all constantly living in a state of heightened stress, and we don’t know how to breath. And worst of all, so many of us are largely disconnected from the idea that there is anything out there greater than us. These are the problems that we need to work with in order to manage anxiety and other mental health disorders. Identifying and figuring out how to work with all of these problems is what finally empowered me to take control of my experience with anxiety.
How I took control of my mental health
After realising that my 9-5 office job just wasn’t working for me, I found new ways to work and make money. I recognized that I had past traumas that I needed to deal with – so I discussed them with my therapist. I gave myself permission to cry about them, and acknowledged that I am free of blame for the traumatizing experiences I’ve endured. Another big step was acknowledging how lonely I was, because I simply was not connecting with my people – so I started putting myself out there in the communities I WANTED to be a part of.
Identifying that so much of the ‘I’m not good enough’ that I was feeling came from the advertisements that were always telling me to buy this or invest in that – so I stopped consuming at the rate I had been previously.
I learned that working with my breath was key to managing my emotions – I turned to my yoga practice and learned how to breath.
Then connecting with my deep inner desire to be rooted in faith – so I found a way to believe in something that is greater than me.
There’s still fear in my heart. I’m still learning, and I’m still growing. But I am so much better at talking myself out of that fear. I no longer experience the physical, emotional and mental distress of anxiety and panic on a daily basis. I feel empowered, strong and capable. And I want you to know that you can feel that way too.
How do you “fix” anxiety? Well, I don’t know that it’s something that can ever be eliminated from your life completely. However, it can certainly be very well managed. In my experience, the key to managing anxiety is getting down to the root and dealing with it from there.
If you need support – please talk to someone, below are 2 services available to you.
The Samaritians (24hr listening service)
Free phone: 116 123
Text: 087 260 9090
Aware (Depression and Anxiety)
Free phone: 1800 80 48 48 Mon – Sun 10am – 10pm