Letter #136

Content Warnings: Anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts


Dear friend,


This past week, I’ve spent a lot of time self-reflecting on my current mental state. I would say that I am definitely in a much more mentally stable place compared to before. I used to struggle with crippling anxiety, where I’d have anxiety attacks practically every other day. The attacks were triggered by violent intrusive thoughts. No matter how hard I tried to shake them off, they would linger in my mind for the rest of the day, until the next day, when a new lingering thought emerged. I didn’t think much of it at the time, as it had become my new normal. But after years of self-therapy, I’ve been able to reduce these attacks to about once every few months. Of course, I still have a long way to go in my recovery, but it’s important that I take the time to congratulate myself for overcoming the obstacles that once felt impossible to take on.


Self-reflection has become an integral part of my healing process. For me, this can be in the form of journaling, as I am now, or simply sitting in silence with my thoughts. The latter has always been terrifying to me, especially given my proclivity for chronic overthinking. Anytime my friends or loved ones recommended I try meditation or any mindfulness practice that required confronting my thoughts and feelings, I would bail immediately. I’m not gonna lie, even to this day, meditation is something I massively struggle with. There’s nothing scarier than deliberately triggering an influx of intrusive thoughts as an overthinker. But I knew that if I wanted to heal properly, I needed to do the one thing I was most scared to do: face myself.


It was pretty traumatizing at first. I remember getting a bit lightheaded from the recurring intrusive thoughts, but after a few times of sitting in solitude, my mind and body began getting used to the thoughts, and began recognizing them as mere thoughts, and nothing else. In hindsight, I’m beyond grateful for pushing through those times, because I would not be the person I am today, had I spent the rest of my life hiding from myself. My relationship with myself has become much stronger, and I hope that I can use my own learnings to help someone who may be in a similar position to me a few years ago.




A friend


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