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Overcoming Anxiety by Reframing My Thoughts and Exploring My Emotions

“The struggle was very real and daunting. I was trapped in an endless cycle of anxious thoughts that seemed to take control over my life. I naively tried to suppress my anxiety, hoping that if I ignored it, it would somehow disappear. Instead, this approach only made my symptoms more acute and pervasive.”

Struggled with:

Hello! Who are you?

My name is Hannah Mayderry. I am a licensed mental health counselor and owner of Philosophie Therapy, an online therapy practice based our out of Jacksonville, FL.

I specialize in working with clients struggling with anxiety, self-esteem, and relationship issues. I strongly believe in living a life that represents who you are and what you want, and I have created a career that genuinely represents me. 

When I am not working, I love spending quality time with my husband, best friends, and my dog, Juniper. I also love to travel and plan excessively decorated parties for anything worth celebrating. In a world in which there is so much we cannot control, I try to do everything within my power to cultivate as much joy as possible. 

I consider myself happy because I find fulfillment in what I do, both professionally and personally. It’s a contentment that comes from helping others navigate their internal struggles while creating a life filled with meaningful relationships, exciting adventures, and authentic experiences.

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

In my teenage and early adult years, I found myself grappling with a severe anxiety disorder. I remember feeling a profound sense of dread that overshadowed every aspect of my life.

Even the simplest tasks like walking from my dorm room to my classes would send me spiraling into a pit of fear and self-doubt. These experiences were the initial sparks that ignited my journey into mental health counseling.

The struggle was very real and daunting. I was trapped in an endless cycle of anxious thoughts that seemed to take control over my life. I naively tried to suppress my anxiety, hoping that if I ignored it, it would somehow disappear. Instead, this approach only made my symptoms more acute and pervasive.

My anxiety became a silent stalker, casting a dark shadow over my life. I was living under a constant cloud of worry, which took a significant toll on my mental and physical well-being. It was a profoundly challenging period of my life, but it was also instrumental in shaping the person I am today.

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

At its worst, my anxiety manifested as a deeply ingrained sense of inferiority. I found myself becoming overly concerned with how others perceived me, and this self-consciousness morphed into a relentless inner critic. This turmoil was not only mentally exhausting but also physically draining.

These feelings of inadequacy created a massive internal barrier that prevented me from pursuing my dreams and desires. I was stuck in a crippling cycle of self-doubt and feared that I was fundamentally flawed. My anxiety had made me believe that I was not enough.

I worked hard to hide my struggles. I would put on a brave face, but inside, I was constantly fighting against my own fears. My mental health struggles were an invisible burden that I carried alone, silently suffering while the world moved on around me.

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

The turning point in my journey came when I realized that I needed to change my approach. I made a conscious decision to stop avoiding my anxiety and instead start understanding it.

I began to explore my anxious feelings and identify the triggers that led to them. This introspection was not a sudden epiphany but a gradual process of self-discovery.

This shift in perspective marked a significant step towards recovery. By recognizing and acknowledging my anxiety, I was finally able to address it head-on. The change I experienced was largely due to my own actions and the understanding that I had the power to shape my emotional state.

Through this journey of self-discovery, I learned that struggles aren’t meant to be swept under the rug. They’re meant to be examined, understood, and ultimately overcome. This insight was instrumental in helping me move past my anxiety and take back control of my life.

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

The first step towards overcoming my struggle was acknowledging the anxiety and the power it held over me. I started by identifying my triggers and understanding what set off my anxious thoughts. I realized that by doing so, I was better equipped to tackle my anxiety at its roots.

Next, I embraced the power of positive self-affirmations. By speaking kindly to myself, I was able to shift my mindset and replace my destructive thought patterns with healthier ones. I discovered the profound impact that our internal dialogue can have on our overall well-being.

Sharing my experiences with others (including my therapist)  was another vital step in my journey. I found solace in opening up about my struggles and realized that I was not alone in my battle against anxiety. I slowly realized that I was not inherently flawed, but rather inherently self-critical.

Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?

Throughout my journey, communication has been a cornerstone of my healing process. I have always been open about my emotional experiences, often sharing my thoughts and feelings with my loved ones.

These conversations not only provided a form of catharsis for me but also helped foster a support network that I could rely on during challenging times.

My personal experiences with anxiety have also enabled me to develop a deeper connection with my clients. My awareness of my own struggles reminds me of the importance of showing up in a session with warmth and open-mindedness. Yes, I am a therapist, but I am also a human being who knows what it is to struggle. 

I wrote more about this in my blog on anxiety disorders and how to treat them.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

From my personal experiences, if there’s one piece of advice I could give, it would be to embrace your curiosity. Start asking questions, reach out to others, and seek novel experiences. The more you learn about yourself and the challenges you face, the more control you’ll gain over your own life.

Recognize that no matter how insurmountable your struggles may seem, you are never truly stuck. There is always a way forward, and it often starts with fostering a deeper understanding of your own experiences. From there, you can start to chart a course towards healing and recovery.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?

Throughout my journey, my education and the mentors I encountered along the way have been hugely influential. They have offered invaluable insights and guidance that have shaped my perspective on mental health and well-being.

Additionally, I have drawn significant inspiration from pop culture. While this might seem unconventional to some, I am a diehard Taylor Swift fan. Her lyrical prowess has often provided me with the language to express my emotions when words failed me.

Her resilience in the face of adversity and her ability to continually reinvent herself while staying true to her essence have been a source of great inspiration.

Where can we go to learn more about you?

While I have consciously chosen to avoid using social media for my own mental health, you can learn more about me on my website, here in my bio, or book a free consultation here.

๐Ÿ’ก By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. ๐Ÿ‘‡

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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