How do I get over crippling anxiety?
Free Your Mind
Anxiety is something we all have. Anxiety disorder is when we notice how anxiety interrupts our social, work, or romantic lives. When we notice how anxiety affects us, we can start to do the work where it needs to be done. For example, if I have anxiety that prevents me from going out with friends, I can do the work in what I notice that doesn't allow me to do what I want/need to do.
Your situation seems to be as such because your anxiety has gotten the best of you and boiled over. How do we get our life back from the anxiety monster? We notice the monster and what it tells us about ourselves. Anxiety is the biological response to something your mind notices is worrisome. The subconscious part of your brain (which is most of your brain) is constantly picking up information. The information your brain is picking up is telling your limbic system to overreact. It benefits you not to try to stop anxiety but to learn how to live with it.
So, your subconscious mind overreacts to something, leaving you with the uncomfortable fight or flight response known as anxiety. Now anxiety communicates with your brain to produce thoughts and beliefs to get you to react. Your reaction to what fear tells you is intended to keep you safe, but now it is keeping you from living your life. So then, what do you want to do, and how is anxiety stopping you from doing it? What I mean is explicit, what thought gets the attention that prevents you from doing what you want?
Our beliefs are formed from early childhood. Our beliefs create our thoughts and emotions and then our reactions. It is often our earliest beliefs about ourselves and the world around us that we need to learn about ourselves because they often go unnoticed. To figure these things out about yourself doesn't cost anything, and it's worth your time to ask, "what do I believe here that is contributing to my problems?" Do not overlook beliefs such as the belief that you won't be happy until you rid yourself of anxiety. It is that belief that may prevent you from being happy ever. It is called a happiness trap to believe you will be happy when...
So, what can you do? Identify what matters to you, identify what interferes with what matters, and do the work to challenge the thoughts anxiety produces, keeping you from the life you want. Ask yourself "why" five times for any decision to see why it matters to you.
You want to go out with friends- why
Being with friends matters to you- why
It's good to have relationships- why
You don't like being lonely- why
You want what's good-why
Good people want good things.
In my example, I ultimately discovered that I want to be a good person. I want to be a good person who makes good decisions and benefits people. So then, I can find identity in my choices that I want to make the decision that would define me as "good." Nobody wants to be a "bad" person, unless of course, they see, "bad" as something their social circles promote- which to them, actually makes them "good."
Anxiety ramped up and didn't allow me to do the necessary work to identify what matters. So, it is my responsibility to work on not letting my thoughts consume me because I have things I care about. I still have the thoughts, but I do what I care about. Again, even with anxiety, you can do what you want and still experience anxiety. Do not get trapped into thinking ridding anxiety will make you happy. You can be just as "happy" now with anxiety the way it is.
Let the thoughts produced by anxiety pass. You do not have to change your life according to your thoughts.