By Sean Clarke
My name is Sean. I’m a dad, Youtuber, blogger and I work full time. These are all things that I’m proud of, as 10 years ago, I couldn’t see how my future would look. I had no direction, no passion and I was at an all time low. That was before I started my journey towards anxiety recovery and acceptance.
Now I’m 27, and I feel like I can help others with anxiety, especially if they’re in their teens or younger because I’ve been there. These days, things are very different. However, I used to suffer with really bad anxiety. It affected my everyday life. It affected the small things, like going to the shop or train station, meeting up with friends and generally living life.
My anxiety did not come about randomly. Many people will tell you a point in their life where it started for them…not me. It’s been with me my whole life and I’ve had to learn to deal with it. When I was a child, I just thought I was shy. These days I know that actually, I was extremely anxious.
My mind just couldn’t take it anymore
When I reached 17, I was walking down the road to get my train to college. All of a sudden, things went hazy and I began to feel really paranoid and out of place. I had a heightened sense of awareness and my anxiety shot through the roof. Long story short, I ran home and into my mums arms. I thought I was going crazy, and for me, that was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. You see, my whole life had led up to that moment where my mind just couldn’t take it anymore. I broke, and I was exposed.
The typical thing happened, my mum took me to the doctor, where I was prescribed medication. At the time I was happy about it. After all, it’s supposed to help, right? Not for me. If you’ve ever had anti-depressants you may have had the same feeling as me. Numbness. I literally couldn’t get happy about anything, even though I wasn’t anxious or sad anymore.
A way for me to feel more alive
I knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life like that and so I reached a critical mass of feeling stuck. I wasn’t going to spend my life anxious or numb. There had to be something more to life. There had to be a way for me to feel more alive and in control. I started working on myself. Always so worried about what others thought, now was my time to focus on me. Screw what anyone thought of me, I was going to do me. That’s the way it’s been for the last ten years now.
How did I turn things round? Like I said, I didn’t suddenly get anxiety, I have had it since I can remember (5 years old!). But this lifetime of feeling down and worthless has actually benefited me hugely. Because I’ve lived so long on the low end of the spectrum I’m now more driven than ever. I want so much more out of life.
Acceptance is the key to anxiety recovery
I ACCEPTED IT. Don’t get me wrong – you shouldn’t accept everything that you don’t like BUT the minute you accept that anxiety is a normal bodily function (no mater how extreme) then that’s the minute you can start to look past it.
I got to a point where I realised – Anxiety is going to be a part of my life forever, it’s been with me this long so it’s unlikely to ever go away. My anxiety is higher than the normal amounts most people feel. But I realised that I was not different: I just have a heightened awareness of worry and stress.
When I understood this, I began to realise that I could control it. I ‘normalised’ it. It was my normal. With this in mind, I could start getting on with life. You see – everyone has something that is trying to hold them back but you have to reach a point where you say – ‘Enough is enough, I’m worth something, let’s go!’
Everyone reaches that point at a different time and so I recommend you don’t force it on yourself. Let your mind feel the way it feels. You’ll get there. For me, it was reaching the age of 23 before I decided enough was enough. I’d been held back for too long. I could carry on living with anxiety and be held back and not do what I wanted. OR I could accept and live with anxiety, laugh at it, make it my bitch and do what I LOVE to do.
The power to change is within you
The point of my story is, the power to change is only within yourself. No doctor or parent, but you. And you’ll get there. It took me to reach breaking point before I started to work towards acceptance and anxiety recovery, but I hope that my words inspire you to start now.
Go do what you love, and do it proudly.
You can find more motivation and my detailed anxiety recovery story on my website. It’s a safe place where I aim to inspire, help and motivate others who are walking today in the shoes I used to.
Here’s to your ultimate success – Sean
Grab a chair and take a read. I’m here to help.
Reproduced with permission, originally published here