Michael is a freelance writer based in Omagh Town, (Ireland), and is qualified in software and psychology. Michael lends his services to various brands, publications and agencies to churn out some top quality content. He also likes to write on the awareness of anxiety and anti-bullying campaigns.
Anxiety wasn’t something I had been too familiar with. Other than flickers of nerves here and there, I had never thought about anxiety much, at all. That was up until I had my eyes abruptly widened by it on a larger scale, roughly five years ago.
As I walked home from work, I noticed the streetlights at the bottom of my road had been faulty due to a snowstorm; the street was dark, gloomy, and quite daunting. The silence along the roadside was deafening.
The air was brisk and quite bleak. It was treacherous. I can remember it like it was only last week. It’s something I always seem to recall about that day for some notable reason — looking back now; it felt like the ‘’calm before the storm’’ moment.
When I got home, I slumped onto my sofa and began sipping on a hot beverage to warm myself. Given how miserable a day it had been so far, it felt subconsciously like an appropriate time to start overthinking and stressing about little things I had been worrying about recently; like it had triggered something volatile in my psyche.
My whole body began to tremble, the TV lighting became blurred, and the palm of my hands moistened with sweat. I felt like I was caged inside my own mind with nowhere to run or hide.
In an attempt to cool down, I jolted toward the bathroom and turned on the cold tap with my hand and I gently patted my forehead with cold water. I collapsed down onto the cold ceramic tiles with my head between my legs until I became mentally exhausted — later passing out.
I began to write my anxiety away
Having done some research on how writing eased anxious thoughts, I brought writing into my social life. I would begin to write fiction stories on how I was a supernatural hero who refused to be defeated by the most insurmountable of villain.
This technique would send vibrancy and positive signals to my mind and I began to think more thoroughly. It felt like the shackles had come off and I was no longer a prisoner inside my head. I had gained a sense of mental stability that I hadn’t felt for quite some time by substituting negative thoughts with positive fiction stories. I was the hero in my own novel.
As author and psychotherapist, Susan Borkin stated, journaling is ‘’…any type of writing or related expressive process used for the purposes of psychological healing or growth.’’
While this technique didn’t happen overnight, I remained persistent with this therapeutic technique and I gradually felt stronger day by day.
By repeating the process, 5-6 times per day (at home), I began to see a light and the end of a dark, turgid tunnel. The day I picked up a pen and began to write changed my life for the better, not only health-wise but also on a career point of view.
Fast forward five years, I am now a freelance writer producing content for some of the top editors in America & UK, based on writing advice, entrepreneurship, mental health-related content, news reports, and employment articles.
I also build CVs for individuals who intend on taking that next step in their career.
My journey was a tough, but valuable experience. I found out that worrying is not a symptom but that it’s just a part of life. I more importantly found out that creativity is the most valuable asset any one person can possess.
I found mine through writing. I now feel I have a choice, and I choose to move forward.
How anxiety affected my life in the long term.
Panic attacks became a regular occurrence from that day forth. The fear of that night would be at the forefront of my mind for the foreseeable future. I was having panic attacks 2-3 times, per day. Racing negative thoughts swamped my mind with regularity.
I would attempt to escape by shutting down and sleeping for a few hours, and in hope rather than expectation, to wake up pristine again. It wouldn’t be as straightforward as that, unfortunately.