Okay, so this is an interesting one, and I'm going to try to focus on fear as opposed to anxiety, because that's what the question asked about. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to use my crazy fear of heights as an example. I'm not kidding when I say I've already broken out in a cold sweat just thinking about it!
So if you've read about what I've done so far in an attempt to create some kind of change and support people with mental illnesses, you'll know that I've done two charity abseils. The second one was on the tallest building in the country. 300ft of fear right there! I genuinely burst into tears at one stage, and I must have been on the roof for about an hour before I finally managed to make it over the edge and down the building with the support of an amazing woman from Belfast Activity Centre.
Now, normally that amount of fear would stop me from achieving what I've set out to do. In fact, I'm writing this at the start of May, and last week I was at BAC. One of the activities was a climbing wall that must be about 30ft tall - yes, thirty feet, that wasn't a typo. Did I manage to reach the top? Nope, I got about halfway up and fear set in. I remained on the ground for the rest of the day, kicking myself for not trying harder.
So what's the difference? Why did I fail dramatically when I tried to climb a relatively small climbing wall, but push myself way out of my comfort zone and abseil a 300ft building? Well, I guess it all comes down to motivation.
What got me down the Obel Tower was the knowledge that I'd already raised £100 for a suicide prevention charity, so it wasn't just me I'd be letting down, it was a whole lot of other people too. Plus, that week, a friend of mine had taken an overdose. They'd spent the week in hospital. I was doing that abseil for people like my friend. I was doing it for people like me - at that stage it had been less than a year since I'd last taken an overdose.
So, in conclusion, I guess I overcame my fear by making myself feel guilty. I don't recommend that as a method, but I did promise to always be honest!