My anxiety started when I was 22 years old when I was in medical school. The crazy weird sensations, the depersonalization, the unreality feelings, I didn’t know what was happening to me and I was scared. I became agoraphobic for 2 months, I was afraid of driving, and I was anxious all the time.
I was put on medications and for the next 8 years I tried many different therapies and read many books until finally I was recovered and got off my medications [I read the book The Power of Now which helped me at that time]! Then 4 months later I was hit again with anxiety in 2017 when I had a panic attack on a plane.
I then developed a fear of flying and heights (which I never had before).
That’s when I DISCOVERED DARE.
DARE gave me so much hope.
When I first start reading DARE, which was the first time I felt I wasn’t alone in all this and what I was experiencing was actually quite normal for those who have anxiety.
I felt comforted by the book and instantaneously feeling better.
At one time, I was nervous to use the train to travel for work. I didn’t want to go alone because I that afraid to have a panic attack but reading DARE helped a lot during that time.
Anxiety would creep back in moments of recovery. However, I kept reading DARE and I kept practicing and pushing out of my comfort zone.
That was key. Keep pushing out of your comfort zone (do small steps if anything, but keep taking steps forward). Feel the, fear and do it anyway. Eventually I realized that anxiety is just sensations, just feelings, and just thoughts. I am safe and it will pass. It’s really not a big deal.
I kept making a big deal out of my anxiety. I kept telling myself I have a fear of this, I have anxiety etc, but that is not WHO I AM. But then I start telling myself that I am recovered (even though I am not) and start acting like I am recovered and that helped! It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Also I realized I made many stories around situations like flying and heights, and so when I caught myself thinking of the story, I stopped myself and realized it was JUST a story not reality. I learned to not push away my thoughts but accept them and release them. I learned to let go of fear.
I learned that I may have intrusive thoughts, but I have full control over my actions. I learned to accept reality as it is and not resist it. I learned that anxiety is a lot about self-care and it makes a big difference (working out, meditation, yoga and eating right). All of these helped me on my road to recovery.
I can drive, I have flown on a 14 hour flight and many other flights since my fear started, I have been on the tallest building of the world the Burj Khalifa! I did a TEDx Talk about my journey with anxiety and the tools I used to recover, DARE being one of them. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it. Yes, I still experience anxiety and I still have some fears and things I am working on.
I may not be fully recovered but I am know I am on my way there and I have all the tools I need to get there! Just go spaghetti and remember this too shall pass! Go out there and LIVE FEARLESSLY! This is a beautiful world so let’s honor this life and embrace it!
Here is the Ted Talk link, I hope you enjoy it!