Now this post is going to be a little out of context from my usual posts, but it is something I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. I have suffered from types of anxiety since the ages of 12, when even sleeping at a friends house would abrupt a panic attack and I would have to call my parents to come get me. This anxiety seemed to worsen and worsen the older I became. Till a point back in 2014 where I found it extremely difficult to leave the house and began to think even my own family and friends were against me.
Now, I have no ‘answer’ for how you need to overcome your anxiety, but I’m hoping from my experience I can guide you in a positive direction. In September 2014 I started a new college course, but by October I had quit, I don’t want to discus the reason why, as it may reflect badly on some individuals. This was a time in my life where I had felt the the lowest of lows, where I found myself thinking about things in such depth it almost felt like a reality.
Luckily, having a wonderful Mother who helped me through, I managed to come out of my dark shell and get myself a full time job. I thought this job was everything I ever wanted… Photography! Boy how I couldn’t have been more wrong. Hand’s down the worst job I have EVER experienced, BUT it also taught me a lot of life lessons and pushed me right out of my comfort zone, which I am so thankful for, as it has made me the confident person I am today.
Now when I look back and read the things I used to write in diary’s or at my CBT sessions I just can’t believe that person was me. I know this is something your grandparents would say, but I honestly wish I could go back and tell 17 year old me everything was going to be okay.
1. Get yourself out there
I know that if someone had said this to me whilst I was suffering badly with anxiety I would have thrown a fit. But when I got my job photographing strangers, selling photographs to strangers and trying to persuade strangers from the street to come and book a session I found myself being able to walk up to anyone and talk to them. This gave me buckets of confidence, especially because our manager was watching our every-single-move. Now this company I worked for, had a lot of bad reputations, and most people may have called the company all the names under the sun, 3/5 people I would speak to would throw it back in my face and proceed to tell me how the company has screwed them over. I was basically getting hate for working at this dreadful company. This made me strong, so strong in fact that I had the balls to quit after only a short 6 months. Saying all that I wouldn’t change that experience for the world, it pushed me into whole new depths of my confidence that I wasn’t even aware existed. So what I’m saying is you NEED to push yourself into new situations, otherwise how are you going to learn.
2. Don’t be afraid
Back when I started college in 2012 I was the most quiet-shyest-little mouse in a class of people who all seemed to be built from confidence. Now in 2016 my tutors are calling me ‘gobby and a loud mouth’! Even they are shocked from the huge improvement of confidence I have gained. Now in class discussions I push myself to talk out loud in front of the class, making others believe I have confidence. This has helped me in so many situations, including class presentations! (even the most confident hate these? right?)
3. Find the RIGHT people
Nothing worsens any anxiety more than being around people who make you anxious, who you feel the need to impress, who are judging you and who are bringing you down. I had a group of friends who made me feel like this at one point, and they’re probably reading this now thinking “who? me?” (sorry but the truth can hurt). Once this group was out of my everyday routine I felt a huge weight lift of my shoulders and a feeling that I can start fresh with friendships. Those friends are still important to me, but keeping a distance is a wonderful feeling. Since finding the right crowd I haven’t looked back. Being myself everyday is the most happiest feeling, its such a blessing to be fulfilled with confidence at every moment with the people you love to be around.
4. Be bloody honest
Be honest with yourself and the people around you. Letting people know how you feel will take a lot of pressure off yourself, meaning less stress and less fake-friendships. Lying is easy and it always seems to be the easiest way out of any situation, but in the long run it’s a mistake which will only get deeper and deeper.
5. Learn to believe in yourself
This is the most important step and the hardest to conquer. Everyone has shit days, I have days where I feel hopeless and I should just give up on it all. We’re all our own worse enemy. You just need to keep pushing yourself, get up again and again after you get knocked down.
Figuring out whats right for you is important. All I can say is conquer your own world, climb and fight every piece of shit that gets in your way, because when you reach the top, the view is wonderful.
I am happy to talk to anyone for advice or just for a chat. Get in contact and I’ll reply as soon as possible.