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How Do I Stop Holding Myself Back?

When my mental health got in the way of my life, I knew I needed to regain control.

Unsplash | Uday Mittal

Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I claim to be, a medical professional. All advice given comes from personal experience and should not be taken in place of professional help.

My battle with anxiety was one I believed I had control over. I knew a majority of my triggers, I had a healthy coping mechanism, and I was confident I could handle whatever life threw at me. It took having an anxiety attack in my University’s bathroom for me to realize that was total bullshit.

Things weren’t getting better. My anxiety was evolving and my coping mechanism wasn’t evolving with it.

I used to be able to calm my nerves by turning my mind off. I’d throw my phone on airplane mode, take a hot shower, snuggle up in my All Might long sleeve, and watch my comfort show until my headspace cleared. This was my go to when I needed to come down from an anxiety attack, but it wasn't as if I could do this outside my room.

Where my coping mechanism had restrictions, I learned the hard way my anxiety did not.

I’d panic during lectures, while I was driving on the highway, in the middle of zoom meetings—you name it. I couldn’t just shut down, I was forced to sit there and endure it. By the time I made it home my mind was a mess.

I started ignoring job opportunities, declined hanging out with friends, and almost jeopardized my chance at graduate school, all because I was terrified to have an attack somewhere I didn’t feel safe.

Little by little my anxiety was trying to take over my life. But since there was no way in hell I was going to let that happen, I had to figure out how to fight back.

Here’s what I learned.