When I’m anxious I notice tightness in my chest and jaw. I take deep breaths and try to focus on the present – I see and hear physical sensations. I remind myself that I am safe.

Anxiety is part of my everyday life. I take comfort from the idea that you don’t have to feel good to be doing good. I accept my situation in the moment. If I am feeling freaked out, I take three deep breaths. I know it will pass. Anxiety is fear based. I try to do something positive for myself. Just going for a walk and getting a change of scenery can shift things. Visit people you care about.

Anxiety is one of those things that most people experience and think they understand it as something that can be self-managed. I have chronic anxiety and find that people don’t understand that I can’t make myself stop being anxious no matter how many deep breaths I take. It took anti-anxiety medication for me to get any kind of relief. First I had to overcome a profound sense of failure to reach out to my doctor. Not everyone needs medication, I get that. I did. The medicine has allowed me to resume my life. I had forgotten what it is like to not be anxious all the time. There is no shame in taking medication when you need it. We must challenge the stigma of mental illness.