For seven years, I suffered from an anxiety disorder.
Without medication, I would experience debilitating panic attacks throughout the day at the most unexpected times.
I could be having a calm, pleasant conversation with someone and then unexpectedly feel as though I was trapped inside of my own body and everything was in slow motion. My chest would feel like an elephant was sitting on it, and my fight or flight response would be overactive. All of the blood would rush to my arms and legs, leaving my brain to feel like it was a useless organ.
I had medication that I took daily, and more medication on top of that in case my panic attacks rose above the strength of my daily medication.
Now, to be clear, I am not against medication. I don’t know where I would be today without medication. It got me by until I found my true inner peace, until I came to know myself, and until I didn’t feel bat-sh*t crazy while weaning off it. But when I learned the real reason behind my anxiety disorder, everything made divine sense: I was not aligned with my path and I believed that my thoughts could control me.
If someone told me two years ago that I would soon be in a mindset where anxiety medicine wasn’t needed and panic attacks were an unfamiliar feeling, I would’ve spun into yet another panic attack, thinking that I was going to sabotage myself from getting there. Those who suffer from anxiety will know exactly what I’m talking about.
I felt suffocated, and my inner wisdom was protesting. I felt a disconnect from life but had no idea where to begin to repair that disconnect.
Then it hit me: I was no longer going to be a victim, I was going to do all that I needed to get rid of this feeling once and for all and start living the life that was subconsciously banging on the bars of my mind’s entrapment. The journey was going to start now and I didn’t care how long it took or what I had to do.
For years, there was a tiny voice that would quietly and gently tell me that there was more to life than I was allowing myself to see. The first thing I knew I had to do was a life detox. Once I did it, my life elevated in ways that literally wiped the muck off of my entire being. I was renewed, I was lifted, and I was being cleansed.
Ridding those things in my life allowed me to enter a place where I was able to start a journey of self-discovery. Who was I truly? What aligned with my highest self? Why did I feel a disconnect and where was it coming from, for God’s sake?
I was ready to get a little dirty and enter into a zone that had scared the hell out of me for years.
So I dove into countless life-changing self-help books, began meditating (slow and steady wins the race), journaling, spreading positivity everywhere I went (as much as I could), attending as many workshops that I could on inner peace, and making it my absolute mission to change my mindset and change my life.
I began to completely surround myself with only love, positivity, peace, and hope. I tuned away from anyone and anything that was bringing negative energy because I knew I had to first find my own peace and foundation so that I could show up fully for life and others. I knew I wasn’t being selfish—I had a purpose, and it was to heal.
Slowly but surely, the life of peace, purity, and wisdom that I was so longing for began to manifest. I was surrounded by all of the beauty that I had set my intentions on. I was finally living. I was free.
I know it is now part of my mission to help others who are suffering from anxiety to find that same life of freedom and peace, to show up as evidence that we can be freed from our thoughts.
Below are strategies that will get us started on this journey. Making this our number one goal is what will finally free us from the confinements of these made-up thoughts. You deserve it, and your loved ones deserve it.
Detach from our thoughts.
We are operating on two different wavelengths: our ego (our lower self) and our higher self (our absolute wisdom). Our human thoughts do not define us. Hell, they don’t even belong to us. They are part of the human experience. Objectively watch them come in and out as if you are watching a movie. This takes practice, practice, practice but the benefits are life-altering. Stick with it.
Figure out what it is our higher selves are calling for and start doing that more.
Activities that are aligned with our higher selves bring about peace rather than misalignment. Ask what is no longer serving you in your life and drop it.
Claiming our damn power back.
This means getting fed up to the point where we are done with being a victim of this disorder, and loudly affirming: “I am way more powerful than my human thoughts will ever be” and “I am claiming my joy and peace” until we feel it in our core.
Learning to ride the waves.
Fully embracing that every single little thing life gives us is part of this incredible journey is what pushes and leads us to the highest version of ourselves.
Giving ourselves permission to put our mental health first.
No excuses. Our inner peace allows us to fully show up for everything else life presents us.
This journey of healing anxiety is intricate, challenging, expansive, and enlightening. Keep holding on. You are not alone, you are not crazy, and you are beyond perfect. It is more than possible to heal from this and using these strategies can be the first steps. The light in me honors the light in you, you beautiful warrior.
Author: Natalie Izzi
Editors: Catherine Monkman; Emily Bartran