Amina’s Campaign

May 29 to May 20, 2024 | Toronto

Raising funds for accessible, proven help with anxiety.

$500.00 dollars

$500.00 goal

About Amina Hasan

Fundraising for action anxiety day

Today, I share my own deeply personal struggle with anxiety and depression with the hope that it may help someone and break down the stigma associated with mental health.

Anxiety plagues us all at some point; dealing with uncertainty, the loss of a loved one, isolation, change, setback, fear of failure and stepping into the unknown. My anxiety started when I was faced with significant change and uncertainty about my future. I saw this dark obscure path ahead of me and my mind was filled with a conundrum of self-doubt and I felt frightened. “Will I regret this? Will I be able to get past the hurdles? What if I can’t? What if the pressure gets too much for me?” All valid fears, that just wouldn’t go away on their own.

 My anxiety started becoming problematic when it consumed my entire day, every day and didn’t go away. This cloud of insecurity that hung over me, kept me awake on most nights, where I could barely manage getting a few hours of rest until I would wake up again with my heart racing, sifting through anxious thoughts, feeling paralyzed with fear and suffocating with worry until I felt that I just couldn’t breathe.

At work, to my husband, friends, and family, I put up a front that I was fine, even though internally, I was torn, mentally exhausted and at the brink of breaking down wishing there was a way out of this pained existence. I felt alone in my battle and I ached for a short window where I wasn’t gripped with intense debilitating fear.

My prolonged anxiety soon turned into depression, a dark cloud of sadness, where my self-esteem was at its lowest and I could barely stand to look at myself in the mirror, since all I saw was failure.

My anxiety instinctively put me into this “fight or flight” mode to protect myself from the thing that I feared the most and I somehow always chose to run far from it. After a decade of running, I realized that this cyclical pattern of running away from my fears was counterproductive and stopped me from realizing life in its fullest form.

I have come a long way in my journey to overcome anxiety and depression. A considerable aid through it all was research, understanding and being aware of what I was going through and finding effective strategies to help combat my anxiety.

I write this not being a professional but to raise awareness and stop the stigma associated with mental health struggles. Even a picture-perfect person may be silently living through severe anxiety and/or depression. Mental health challenges cannot be seen overtly and people struggling with these often feel “unseen” and “unheard”.

If you are reading this and have dealt with anxiety and depression, I want you to know that you are not alone as you navigate your journey to living a life that is fulfilling and not plagued with constant fear. Anxiety and depression will not defeat you. You have the strength, resilience and most importantly the courage to overcome it.

Here are a few tips I’d like to share with those struggling with anxiety and depression that have helped me battle the demons of my mind:

 1.   Break the anxiety cycle: When the negative fearful thoughts start overpowering me, I lie down on my stomach on a mat and deep breathe. I close my eyes and practice mindfulness strategies discussed below. It immediately helps calm me down and I feel less overwhelmed.

2.   Exercise to get rid of those anxious feelings in your stomach: High levels of anxiety have physiological manifestations because your body makes adrenaline and cortisol (known as the stress hormone). Adrenaline and cortisol wreak havoc on your central nervous system with headaches, difficulty concentrating, tearfulness, trouble sleeping, changes in eating patterns and over long periods can lead to ulcers, heart disease and cancer. The most effective way to get rid of excess adrenaline and cortisol is to burn it off with cardiovascular exercise. Exercise it off — even if it’s just a quick walk.

3.   Practice mindfulness: The best way that I found to exact control over my anxious thoughts is through practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness simply put is being aware of the present moment. I practice the following mindfulness techniques when I feel overwhelmed:

  •  I ask myself if I am in imminent danger in this very moment?
  •  I deep breathe and focus on my breathing realizing all the while that in this moment I am safe, healthy and not in harm’s way.
  • Be kind to yourself and carry out positive self-talk: Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend. I tell myself “Don’t do this to yourself. You deserve better than to be consumed by these negative thoughts. You have the strength and tenacity to get through the adversity. Take one step at a time and most importantly believe in yourself. You will get through this”

4.   Prepare yourself the best you can to face your fears, remembering all the while that there will be things that are out of your control and embrace the associated discomfort: Ask yourself “What can I do today to prepare myself for this event?” Actions help rather than thoughts so act today to prepare yourself the best you can to face the fearing inducing event. 

5.   Realize that courage isn’t the absence of fear: Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it is to admit that you are scared but you are going to do it anyway because you want to fight for what you believe in. Courage is choosing to wake up every day to walk the obscure path, despite feeling scared.

 6.   Accept that you cannot control everything that happens to you but you can chose how you go through it: Don’t wait to “get over” with the fear inducing event. Take one day at a time knowing all the while why you are doing this. I have gone through life wishing away the hurdles and wanting to get over with the things that I have feared the most. Life doesn’t stop and end because you are facing a fearful event or circumstance in your life, so take the journey in your stride. This hurdle doesn’t get to steal your joy.

 7.     Be your own biggest supporter and remember that you are worthy: Remind yourself that you are capable, worthy and you can achieve anything your heart desires with hard work, commitment and dedication. Anxiety doesn’t get to rule over your life. For years, I sought these comforting words from others around me, only to realize that the comfort I sought resided within myself.

 8.   Visit a cemetery to fully appreciate that it is important to live in the moment: This is an odd one, but it worked for me. Visiting a cemetery reminds me that there was this whole set of people that lived on this earth before me and now reside here under it. Life is fleeting so remember to smile; not at the world but at yourself and feel positive knowing that the person you are looking at is stronger than you know. Take joy in the day even in the smallest of ways; laugh, listen to music and don’t worry too much about future outcomes.

My final tip to those struggling with anxiety; Face anxiety head-on whilst preparing yourself the best you can. Be guided by your intuition and trust yourself. Tell yourself “I am going to conquer anxiety, I am strong and I will succeed”

You have the strength, resilience and most importantly the courage to overcome anxiety and depression in your life. Find your light through dark times and stay inspired.

I am raising money for a cause that is close to my heart and supporting Anxiety Canada's Action Anxiety Day. Anxiety Canada is a national non-profit dedicated to providing access to proven resources and treatment for anxiety.


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