I’m a meticulous planner. I like to have things organised and planned properly in order to ensure I am not stressed and anxious about the littlest things. But there has been one thing that I have battled with for years – anxiety. Anyone who reads this and knows me probably think I’m bluffing; I look like I’ve got my ‘sh*t together’, and I know my next steps, but that has not been an easy journey. My closest friends and family know how much of a pain I can be; the constant worrying and fear about things that are often beyond my control. We all aim to have some control over things that affect us, but when the anxiety become overwhelming and controlling, that is where the problem lies.

I’ve always been shy and introverted, but my first anxiety attacks began in my mid-teens. The thought of not being able to be in control of a situation made me lose a lot of weight, lose my appetite and stop doing things that I enjoyed. I’ve also had waves of feeling extremely anxious such as during university, exams etc.

My issues with anxiety has improved with age. However, whilst I’m still a young person, I’ve understood that this thing called life will always have its ups and downs, I cannot control everything and to take every day as it comes.

Some things that has helped with my anxiety are:

  • Trusting God. Knowing that God always protects me through whatever circumstances I find myself in, as long as I believe He can do it. This gives me a great confidence boost. I feel safer and less exposed to circumstances beyond my control.
  • Completing tasks. I set myself tasks every day and try to achieve at least a few of them before the day ends.
  • Taking some time out of the day to have a walk or jog in the park or my local nature reserve keeps my mind at peace.
  • Being creative. Getting my creative side active as teaching myself how to knit or learning how to use my camera in creative ways distracts me.
  • Spending time with loved ones. There is nothing like a good chinwag and laughter with friends and family. Laughter is the best medicine.

Anxiety is a normal human experience and I know I cannot avoid it, but I’m glad that at the moment, the big ‘A’ is not a part of my everyday life. I’m living in confidence and un-apologetically.

Tiffany Afia x  

For more information on anxiety and mental health: Mind.org.uk