A big part of overcoming my 15-year journey with anxiety, panic, and agoraphobia, was figuring out what had, and was, contributing to my struggles. Figuring out your contributors will help you to work to eliminate them, and ultimately eliminate anxiety and panic in the process!
Before we dive in, I want to share something with you! I created an online course, Panic to Peace. And in the course, I help you to identify your contributors, and I teach you the tools you need in order to eliminate them and ultimately overcome anxiety, panic, and agoraphobia.
People often ask me how I overcame my struggles, and so I figured, heck, let me put all of the tools that I used to overcome my journey in a course so that people can overcome their struggles just like I did! So if you're interested in joining my 10-week program, you can head here and get all of the details!
Okay, let’s jump into some of my contributors, which are common contributors of anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia!
Contributor # 1: Genetics
My mom, brother, uncle, grandfather, great grandmother, all struggled with anxiety, panic, and/or agoraphobia. But here’s the good news, being predisposed to anxiety and panic didn’t stop me from overcoming it!
Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are stuck and that we have no control over things, when in reality, we are convincing ourselves of a lie. Being predisposed to anxiety and panic does not mean that you have to live a life of anxiety and panic!
You can’t really change your genetics, right? That’s okay! It’s about finding the right tools that will help you to push past it. For some, medication is a great tool, especially to help you get started so that you can focus on implementing anxiety-relieving tools into your everyday life. And if you’ve tried medication and it didn’t work for you, or if you are hesitant to try medication, that’s okay, too! Medication didn’t work for me, but that didn’t stop me from overcoming anxiety and panic.
Sometimes we have to accept what is, learn what will help us push past it, and do the work!
Contributor # 2: Trauma
Trauma, either as a child or adult, has such huge impacts on our mental wellbeing. I experienced trauma as a child and also as a teenager.
My father was always emotionally distant, and his behavior was often volatile. I didn’t feel loved or supported by him, and his behavior created a lot of fear in me which carried through to my teenage and early adult years.
Then, when I was a teenager, I was involved in a very toxic relationship. He was mentally and emotionally abusive, and at the end of the relationship he was physically abusive.
Trauma requires healing, and healing can be hard but is absolutely necessary. Healing helps you to work through the trauma and ultimately allows you to push forward. I worked through these traumas in therapy, by writing down my thoughts and feelings, and by talking to people.
Contributor # 3: Stress
Do you find yourself always trying to do it all? If you are an achiever like me, you know that piling things on will only leave you feeling more overwhelmed and anxious!
Stress = anxiety!
It’s important to set boundaries and stick to them. Are you working too much? Are you taking too many classes? Are you saying yes to everything and not saying ‘no’ enough? Are you dedicating enough time to YOU and your mental health?
Next time you are faced with adding more, ask yourself, will this negatively affect my mental health (aka increase anxiety/panic)? If the answer is yes, say NO! Saying no is okay and healthy! Especially when it means allowing yourself more time to focus on you and your mental health.
Contributor # 4: Toxic relationships
Unhealthy people and unhealthy relationships cause stress, which leads to a whole lot of unnecessary anxiety!
Do you allow unhealthy, negative, destructive, and unsupportive people to contribute negatively to your life? I sure used to! It’s not even that these people are bad people. They may not even be intentionally doing the things that they’re doing! Unfortunately some people don’t even realize that they’re harming other people with their own self-destructive behaviors.
The reality of toxic relationships is that if someone is an unhealthy person, it’ll negatively affect you no matter how much you try to not let it. And as much as you may care for and love someone, you cannot fix their internal struggles and MAKE them a healthy and happy person. No matter how much care and love you give to someone, that love cannot overcome their struggles for them. If someone isn’t happy with who they are, you can try as many different ways to “fix” this person, but you’ll ultimately be damaging yourself in the process.
Ending toxic relationships means that you’ll likely have to have some tough conversations, and that’s okay, YOU ARE CAPABLE. Trust yourself and know that you are capable of supporting your own happiness. If someone isn’t supporting your happiness, you need to communicate this to them. You can let them know that you’re open to reconnecting in the future, once they’re in a healthy space. Although this is tough to do, sometimes it pushes people to make the necessary changes that they need to make in their lives to support their own happiness.
And if you need to, seek support! Talk to a therapist if you need help removing toxic people from your life. I want you to do this in a safe and healthy way. I know how hard it can be to end toxic relationships, but it’s absolutely crucial to your health and wellbeing.
Contributor # 5: Always trying to get rid of anxiety!
This is an important truth to recognize... Anxiety is an emotion, and you can't just make it go away. But don't let this make you feel discouraged or defeated!
I know that right now anxiety is probably popping up way more than it should be, but you can change your relationship with anxiety so that the anxious thoughts, symptoms, panic, and fears aren't popping up and making all of the decisions for you.
So if you're currently finding yourself thinking things like (especially while facing the hard stuff)...
- I have to stop feeling anxious. I can't handle this.
- I have to make it go away.
- I can’t or shouldn't feel anxious.
I want you to acknowledge this really important truth... Fighting anxiety and trying to make it go away is a huge reason why the anxious thoughts, symptoms, panic, and fears keep showing up.
It's okay to feel anxious. It's okay to let yourself feel anxious. I promise, you can handle it. After all, you always have.
So if your current goal or wish is to get rid of anxiety for good, instead change this to… I will create a healthy relationship with anxiety.
I’m sure some of these contributors resonated with you, if not all of them! And in my online course, Panic to Peace, you’ll learn all of the things that are contributing to your struggles and all of the tools that will help you to push past them and start living a life of peace and joy!