Aisha's story: a letter to my younger self

This content mentions anxiety, which some people may find triggering.

As clichéd as it may sound, I try to live fully in the present, with a sense of positive expectation and an opportunity for expansion.

I feel blessed to have lived the life I have, even with lived experience of anxiety. As I have grown older, I have understood the need to know what and who makes you happy – and add it to a list, or as I call it my ‘mental health tool kit’.

I would also say to my younger self: remember, you are the holder of the key to your own destiny. Decide for yourself what your experience will be; listen to others but let the decision be yours.

Also, remember, in life, everything needs balance. Different-sized cogs all play their part in the forward momentum of life – one is no less and no more important. They all require attention; be kind to yourself.

Finally, I like to remember Desiderata by Max Hermann, an excerpt of which says:

“In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Aisha Sheikh-Anene headshot

Aisha Sheikh-Anene is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Mental Health Foundation.

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