How I Cured My Anxiety Without Taking Antidepressants

For as long as I can remember, even on the calmest of days, I have felt unnecessarily anxious, nervous, and stressed, even though I had no “real” problems. My personal life was wonderful, my personal relationships were going well, and my life appeared to be in order.

By Ramsha Afridi4 min read
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Despite this, there was a constant worry gnawing at the back of my mind that was so intense it eventually would cause me to erupt into tears and send me into a panic attack with a racing heartbeat the very next minute.

I knew I had a deep underlying problem, and after a few trips to the doctor, I received a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. My feelings of stress and worry were finally put into perspective, and I finally understood why I was feeling such high levels of neuroticism and negative feelings. 

My doctor immediately prescribed me antidepressants in a bid to manage my anxiety. These drugs function by changing the concentrations of specific chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters which are responsible for controlling our mood and other mental processes.

And so, my journey of managing my anxiety began. 

Antidepressants Were Not the Answer for Me

On the advice of my doctor, I began to take antidepressants in an effort to manage my anxiety. And what a rollercoaster that was – I started feeling lethargic, numb, and unhappy more than ever after taking antidepressants for only two months. And after the third month, I experienced a significant weight gain. At this point, I knew something was wrong and that taking antidepressants was not the solution for me.

I soon stopped taking these medications, and I made the decision to spend more time doing research. I learned that antidepressants, like all medications, can have side effects and may not be appropriate for everyone. I realized that what I was going through was a known side effect of antidepressants. 

I also found out that there were people all over the world who did not rely on antidepressants, SSRIs, or big pharma drugs to manage their anxiety after doing my own research and even speaking with a consultant. I learned that lots of people treated their symptoms naturally and holistically, and they had great success doing so.

I found out lots of people successfully treated their anxiety naturally and holistically.

The fact is that there is no "simple fix" for anxiety or other mood disorders. Every person is an individual with a unique personality and qualities. I finally understood that I needed a new way of dealing with my anxiety, so I decided to give a holistic and natural strategy a shot.

5 Major Ways I Managed My Anxiety without Antidepressants

My personal experience reveals that a natural approach to controlling anxiety can not only be a powerful and all-encompassing strategy to deal with this common mental health issue, but that, for some, it can really be a superior method to taking antidepressants. Some natural remedies, such as taking herbs, exercising, and meditation, have practically zero negative side effects compared to taking antidepressants. 

There are numerous strategies that can be used to help reduce anxiety and encourage feelings of calm and relaxation. The following are some of the main strategies I discovered to be effective in managing my anxiety:

1. I Created a Support System

As we face challenges in our lives and with our well-being, some of us can also frequently lack the necessary support system of devoted family and friends. More often than not, so many of us overlook the importance of building strong communal bonds. I knew that in order to manage my anxiety, I needed the correct kind of social network. Following this realization, I immediately started trying to make weekly plans with a community of relatives and friends who could be there for me. This was definitely a wise decision because it has been essential in helping me achieve a positive mindset.

2. I Meditated

I began to meditate, something I had never anticipated doing because I had never been drawn to mind-body practices or other types of meditation. But I downloaded the "Balance" app, created by Dr. Louise Newson, which functions as a virtual meditation coach and teaches beginners breathing exercises in addition to meditation, and gave it a try.

By focusing on my breath or following a guided meditation, I am able to rest my mind and achieve a level of inner peace and serenity. I find that when I meditate, it helps me concentrate on the moment and settles my intrusive thoughts. In fact, an investigation into the impact of mindfulness meditation on brain structure was recently carried out by a group of academics at the University of British Columbia. The meta-analysis study made a startling discovery: Frequent meditators' brains were found to be structurally distinct from those who did not meditate, indicating the possibility of beneficial structural changes in the brain. With regular meditation, the amygdala, which is known for processing fear, grief, and a range of other negative thoughts, reduces in size. Areas of the brain associated with impulse control, maintaining attention and focus, body awareness, and stress management were also larger or thicker.

3. I Exercised Daily 

Exercise has been an excellent tool in managing my anxiety – I simply can't praise its advantages enough. Moving my body, whether it be through a leisurely stroll, weight lifting, or a pilates class, has consistently helped me to reduce symptoms of anxiety and uplift my mood. 

The endorphins produced while working out have a massive positive impact on my emotional health. Not to mention, working out allows me to relieve any tension or stress that has been building up. 

Doing something creative helps me put my worries aside and focus my mind in a healthy way. 

4. I Got Creative 

Being creative has proven to be a very powerful tool for me in managing my anxiety. Whether it's a short doodle or a piece of prose, doing something creative helps me focus my energy and mind in a healthy way. It also helps me put my worries and pressures aside for a short while so that I may completely appreciate the moment. Creative activities can also be utilized to support grounding techniques, a cognitive behavioral therapy strategy that helps you center on the present moment by employing your five senses. Psychologists advise anxious individuals to do this to help them disengage from troubling memories or thoughts. I gave myself the opportunity to spend time on something constructive by concentrating purely on the creative activity.

5. I Used Herbal Remedies

As someone who has battled anxiety for most of my life, herbal remedies have been extremely helpful in relieving symptoms of my anxiety. This came as a huge surprise to me when I tried herbal remedies for the first time, such as turmeric tea and ashwagandha herbal tea. I was taken aback by how much it made me feel relaxed and at ease. Adaptogens, which are found in herbal teas like ashwagandha, are known to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, support your adrenals, and lessen feelings of stress and anxiety. In my experience, herbal remedies also offer organic aromas that have a relaxing impact on the body, mind, and our general well-being. I discovered that herbal remedies are beneficial because they do just that – calm the body and mind.

Closing Thoughts 

The truth is that when it comes to managing anxiety, taking antidepressants is not the only answer, regardless of what the mainstream narrative around treating anxiety is. 

My success in managing anxiety without taking antidepressants proves that natural remedies are, without a doubt, extremely effective in treating this condition. Whether it’s a daily leisurely stroll in the park or drinking a warm cup of ashwagandha tea to kickstart your day, there are countless natural ways to relieve this condition and bring a sense of peace and tranquillity into your life. 

However, it should be noted that the choice of the best method of care will depend on your unique requirements, so it's always a wise idea to consult with a medical expert before making any changes to your therapeutic process (like I did). 

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