I had a breakdown about a year ago, which, as I’m sure anyone else in a similar position knows, was shocking in itself. The love of life I so cherished disappeared and everything I tried to engage with came with an uncontrollable sense of panic. The overwhelming slew of negative thoughts was suffocating and I dreaded waking up each day. I wrestled with the demons in my head, trying a variety of tactics to suppress any disturbing thought or upsetting feeling. After a failed attempt at therapy and determined not to use medication (believing those the only two options) my stubborn nature and pride prevented any progress; I just kept pushing those thoughts down.

I discovered Headspace by accident, and sat on it for a good few months before finally making the commitment to meditate on a daily basis. The irony was, I wanted the free voucher for my brother, who himself struggles with depression and anxiety. I hoped I could help him, but blindly dismissed any realistic expectation of helping myself.

I expected meditation to “cure” my anxious disposition… and so I got frustrated and sad. WHY wasn’t I calm? WHY was this adrenaline overload still able to happen? WHY were these thoughts still here?

WHY wasn't I calm? WHY was this adrenaline overload still able to happen? WHY were these thoughts still here?

In the last few weeks, understanding is finally starting to dawn; I’ve stopped trying to force the mind to be calm. I took a deep breath, decided to be brave, and stopped pushing against thoughts. Working through the Headspace Anxiety pack, I’m learning to let thoughts be and gently allowing the mind refocus on the real world.

Regardless of anxiety level, my head feels different! There’s a feeling of lightness, a bit of space between me and the mind now, and that space allows for understanding of the thoughts, to see them for what they truly are.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught out, to start following a thought and spiral downwards a little. But I’ve got back the most important quality that can be lost in an anxious mind. Hope disappears, or rather, is eroded away until it can be difficult to imagine a different life. If I hit the bottom now, I know it’ll pass, and I’m learning to sit back and wait for the clouds to drift away.

The blue sky is always there.

The author of this post is an editorial contributor to Headspace. These are their views, experiences and results and theirs alone. This contributor was not paid for their writing.