When it comes to tackling anxiety, I have tried many approaches.
As a child, I pushed it away. I hated the feeling that I was weird, different, and a little bit too quiet and shy. Instead, I placed a huge amount of pressure on myself to fit in and be like everybody else. It didn’t work.
As a teenager my anxiety held me back, and I became depressed. I spoke to my doctor about it, and he prescribed anti-depressants. I thought this would cure me. It didn’t work.
In my late teens I began drinking. Alcohol made me feel different, and free. I thought I was cured. I wasn’t.
The wake-up call
In my early twenties I started to suffer from night terrors. I read somewhere that adult-onset night terrors are incurable, and that I would just have to deal with them.
For the rest of my life.
The thought scared me. I was waking up at least three times every night, screaming the house down as I sat bolt upright, my heart beating itself out of my chest.
I couldn’t live with this for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t.
My doctor offered little support. I looked to numerous therapists for help. I made progress. Slowly.
And I kept searching for the magical bullet that would transform my life.
Fifteen years later, here I am.
So, what’s changed?
I would like to be able to share with you the magical formula that turned my life around, complete with money-back guarantee and some extra gifts for good measure.
You are not me. We have walked different paths. And, besides, anxiety has not really left me. I just know myself better these days, and meet my needs.
For years I hoped for the person who would come and save me. Instantly I would feel renewed, capable, confident, friendly, playful, exciting, free. I would skip back from my last ever therapy session having been handed my true-self on a plate by the all-seeing, all-knowing, magical wonder-therapist.
Or maybe they might have given me a pill that did all that. Or a knight in shining armour. I didn’t really care, so long as it freed me of all my (many) burdens.
The thing is, it doesn’t happen like that.
Take back your power
A therapist can only help you as much as you are ready to help yourself. A pill can only take you so far before you begin relying on it just to feel normal. You will probably waiting forever for your knight in shining armour. Anything outside of you cannot really give you answers.
You have to be willing to do this yourself.
You have to be willing to be honest with yourself. Acknowledge the person you are, accept every weird and wonderful part of you, allow your quirky traits and abstract talents, and embrace every last bit of it.
You are amazing, incredible, talented and worthy. You can be, do and have anything you choose.
No-one else can give you permission to live the life you crave. That is up to you.
A little push
Sometimes, I must admit, it helps to have a little push in the right direction. A therapist might ask the right questions, or suggest the right techniques. A pill might take some of the weight off your shoulders, so you can actually get up and face the day. Or something you read might prompt you to stand a little straighter, look up a little higher, and whisper sweet nothings into your own ear.
You deserve it. So take back your power, and start making changes.
Over to you: Has this post inspired you to step up and tackle your own anxiety? Let me know in the comments 🙂