It’s 2014 and I’m living my ‘perfect life’; I live abroad, great friends, full-time job, engaged to a lovely girl.
I wake up in the middle of the night and it’s just too much.
I hit my head whilst repeating the words,
“Get out of my head! Get out of my head!”
The pain in my chest is too much. At that moment I just wanted my body to shut down. I thought that passing out meant that the pain would go away. You can imagine what is was like for my partner to wake up and see me in this state.
Was this a healthy habit to do in the early hours of the morning? Definitely not!
My body didn’t pass out that night. It made me endure in its entirety. But it was a turning point in my life.
I realised this behaviour could escalate very quickly. Visually, I fast-forwarded my life. I imagined what my life would be like if I didn’t get this anxiety under control. It was not pretty.
Fortunately I realised that if I had the brain which was causing this anxiety, I also had the brain which could take the necessary steps to deal with this anxiety demon that I had.
I consulted a psychologist, read books and took up meditation. Luckily for me, I had always been a keen sportsperson so exercise was already part of my life – which looking back now was probably a saviour for me. Similarly, I had always journaled though I was focusing too much on problems and not on solutions and successes.
Once I saw that anxiety can come from overthinking and in my case it can also come from not being aligned with your purpose, I knew I had the power to change.
Three years from the life-changing moment my life was looking different. I left my job, became a full-time Dad for a while (something I’d always wanted to do), wrote a cookbook with a friend and used my brain power to discover what my real purpose was. It took time. I worked part-time jobs whilst looking after my son, attending baby classes together (funny as!) and writing my book.
I knew I wanted to help people and live life on my terms. I had experiences that I wanted to share and help that I wanted to give. As corny as it sounds, my purpose, my pleasure in life has always been to help people.
Feeling the fear, and doing it anyway, I registered to become a certified life coach. I strongly believe that certification for coaching does not give you the all the answers to help your clients, but for me, it was perfect. I learnt a ton of practical mind management strategies and tools which I could use to self-coach myself, and to share with others as well.
Additionally, everything just clicked as I realise that our mind controls everything and how we can manage it so we can live our best, and most deserving, lives.
I don’t really have anxiety anymore. I do, but not really. Let me explain. I haven’t ‘cured’ my feelings of fear, worry, trepidation, frustration, or anger and nor would I want to. I want to experience life.
I want the full range of positive emotions as well as the full range of negative emotions. They are there for a reason.
Without contrast we wouldn’t know what joy, bliss, satisfaction, peace or happiness feels like. The problem that anxiety brings is that you are experiencing the negative emotions on a continuous loop. I have learnt that negative emotions need to be acknowledged because they are there for a reason.
Through practical mind management I can now recognise when my brain is giving me this negative emotion because it is looking out for me, like have you packed all the things you need or have you taken the appropriate steps to get that report in on time? As opposed to the heart-wrenching voice of,
“What will they think about me? Do they agree with me? What happens if they don’t agree with me? Will they hate me? Hate is a strong word, but maybe they will. On and on and on…”
Anxiety can be an over-protective friend who thinks they are helping you by replaying what could happen to you over and over again. It’s like your brain is saying to you,
“So here’s what could happen if you want to do _______ (insert goal or dream here); this, then this, then this. Did you get all that? I’ll play it over in your head one more time so you do! In fact I’ll keep playing it over until you decide not to do what you have set out to do.”
Sound familiar? This is a common loop for someone who experiences anxiety. I had always wondered where I had go t this from. To be honest this anxiety loop never really stopped me from going after and achieving my dreams and goals. Looking back I did want I wanted to do.
I joined a rock band when I was younger, I became a teacher, I moved abroad, I met a lovely girl, and I’ve done a lot of travelling. Everything I’ve wanted to do though I can recall the struggle I had with my mind I achieved even though I felt the constant mind loops in my head.
Keep in mind that your brain is only trying to look out for you by pointing out the negatives, or what could go wrong, it’s how we humans survived as cavemen and women back in the day. For myself my brain was pointing out threats that weren’t actually threats – just what I perceived to be threats.
I really appreciate my mind. It has given me everything. It just needs my guidance. I am so glad that I started this journey and I more importantly continuing with it. For me there was no cure – just a continuing journey that keeps getting tried and tested but keeps on coming out better on the other side.
So there’s my story. Thank you for reading all the way through. My vision for sharing this was in the hope that it struck a chord with some people.
If it did, you are not alone.
You are not an outcast.
You are not weird.
You are a human being who has suffered anxiety. That is all.
I’ve been there. I hope this story has provided value for you,
Do you want to start your mind management journey too? Click below to work with me