So what did I do?
I wanted to share what worked for me, as I strongly believe in these teachings and practices, and I really hope you can benefit from these too. Anxiety, depression or hopefully not, these are excellent tools to strengthen mind. It is all about Power, and how to find the power within (we all have it, but we just forget to use it).
1. Knowledge: This is very important. It is crucial to achieve an understanding of what is happening to you, how your thoughts affect your feelings, how your mind and body works, how very, very intimately thoughts and feelings are related (they are joined at the hip). And most importantly, how thoughts come first, and feelings come second, so then you can see what choices you have.
2. Mindfulness: Basically putting in practice the above. Mindfulness is all the rave at the moment with colouring books on every stand at the stores. Whilst it is a great way to relax, it is quite fruitless to rely on this as a healing process without understanding why. Mindfulness teaches you to see the fine, intimate relationship between thought and feeling and then understanding your choice not to get involved in those. Mindfulness, for me, worked much better than Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). CBT challenges and analyses thoughts, and while this is important in the third step below, anyone who has suffered a full blown anxiety disorder will understand that one of the common symptoms is unwanted thoughts. Thoughts such as, "I'm going crazy... I'm losing control... I'm going to have a nervous breakdown..." to completely unwanted and sometimes scary thoughts. These stem from a tired mind and and trying to continually analyse them and challenge them can be exhausting, and is giving those thoughts a purpose and frankly more attention than they deserve. There is no airy-fairy way of the mindfulness that I was taught, it is honest-to-goodness sensible therapy. It takes practice and patience (a LOT of patience) and is learned skill. And like anything else, the more you put in, the more you will get back.
3. Self-Esteem and Deeper Psychology: The reason that people partially recover (cut the tree at the stumps), or continue to live with unease, is that they are not going to the roots. We all have a good deal of baggage underneath and your childhood and upbringing effects your perception, beliefs and behaviour. It is not about throwing anyone under the bus, or blaming but rather to have, in an empathetic way, an understanding of why you think the way you do. For me, I had to see why I never felt good enough as a parent, why I needed to be able to do everything...and perfectly, and why I couldn't handle by fear and my anger. It is different for all but these are the big issues that drive the disorder and keep it alive. Pull these out by the roots and you are home-free. Because let's be honest, life can throw some shitty curveballs, and without an understanding of yourself, then the risk of setbacks is high.
Sometimes trying too hard or reading too much (in particular trying different therapies) when suffering can lead to more confusion and anxiety. I was fortunate to have Bronwyn Fox (Power Over Panic) counsel me, and she recommended Six Pillars of Self Esteem and The Power of Now. They all tie in with each other very well and do not conflict in terms of teachings, so they are very safe to read.