During a recent conversation with my good friend Isabel, I had an epiphany. After years of research, countless prescriptions, dozens of unanswered questions, and endless doctor visits, I’ve finally discovered the antidote to my anxiety: me.
I was diagnosed with an anxiety issue at age 14, and after my mother's refusal of medical treatment, I went 12 years without any issues.
Unfortunately, a few years ago, anxiety made a triumphant return into my life. My official diagnosis was Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder.
In the following two years, I became a victim of my own mind. I was misled by western medicine and manipulated into believing that my only hope for normality came in the form of a small white pill.
My disorder became a crutch, and the only thing that gave me relief evolved into a disease. Due to my addictive personality and predisposition to dependence, my search for instant gratification became habitual. In a matter of months, I had developed an addiction to the medication that was intended to mitigate my anxiety.
One year, hundreds of hours of yoga and limitless green juices later, I was finally able to overcome my addiction and take back control of my life. But, even after conquering my addiction, I was still dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I am the solution to the problem that exists inside my head. I had to accept that I may never fully beat anxiety, but I can control its effect on my life.
In that moment, I was reminded of something that I tell my clients: Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional and the only difference between the two is resistance.
I’m the guy that’ll smile in public and suffer in private. I’m the person who dedicates so much of myself to helping others that I sometimes neglect my needs. What I needed was to get back to was self-preservation.
I have a tendency to throw myself into work in order to keep my mind occupied, but the truth is, no matter how much I love what I do, it does not define who I am. My happiness should not be predicated on how many retweets I get, how many new likes on Facebook I receive, or how quickly I respond to emails.
I had to question, if I put myself before I put others, does that mean I care less? Would my clients' results suffer if I took a day for myself? Would my training methods become inadequate or less effective if I dedicated more time to personal care?
I had to give myself permission to be human. I needed to acknowledge that I was not exempt from imperfection. No matter how much I want to give, if I have nothing left for myself, what am I really contributing?
For anyone dealing with anxiety, I want you to understand that you are the catalyst of your own healing. How you chose to deal with your circumstances will determine its outcome.
All you can do is your best. No one (including yourself) can authentically ask for anything more. Be OK with the worst case scenario, but be aware that the likelihood of it actually happening is probably slimmer than Heidi Klum.
Every day provides an opportunity for you to be better than you were the day before. Take advantage of it. And remember that it takes practice.
In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri Swami says, “Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.” In other words, practice should be done daily, with patience, faith and without break.
Utilize the chance to discover your greater self. Don’t allow the shackles of anxiety to derail your progression. Believe that victory is possible!
If you don’t, who will? Be well.