“I’ve Been Here Before”

I’ve been here before.

This is what I thought last night as I struggled with anxiety. I thought about how I was tired of ending up in the same situation – feeling both sad and weak due to my anxiety. I thought about how I wish I could go back to doing simple things without feeling anxious.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I never feel hopeless and downtrodden, because I do. I hate feeling burdened with anxiety; feeling like its in control. Believe it or not, I used to be someone who loved to go out shopping, hang out with friends, and be able to do things without much stress. I still like doing those things, but I don’t feel like they’re easy anymore. I hate that feeling.

As I sat struggling last night, I wondered how and if I’d ever get through my anxiety. After all, I’ve been going through it for so long, how can I be sure it will ever be a thing of the past? I don’t think this is a totally unreasonable question. It’s hard to have faith sometimes when you constantly see yourself suffering.

The thing that we all have to remember, is that many of us have made progress. Many of us have faced our fears and succeeded – I know I have. Just because we may have bad days or moments, does not mean that we haven’t experienced times of achievement or that we’re not on the road to recovery. All it means is that we have to work harder on a more consistent basis. We will get through our anxiety and over our other obstacles!

So if you’re wondering how you’re supposed to believe in yourself, you’re not alone. I think many people feel this way. It’s okay to sometimes feel less than 100% confident, you’re only human. What’s not okay is to allow these doubts to take control, to give them credence. We are stronger than our obstacles!

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Progress Is Progress – Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise!

Maybe every time you’ve ever shared your progress with someone else, they’ve commended you. Maybe you’ve never had someone question how the progress you’ve made can really be labeled as such. I think that’s great. However, I know that I, for one, have experienced otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong, many times when I share my progress with someone, they are proud of me and express those feelings of pride. They understand that if I’m doing something that I previously struggled with – no matter what it is – that it matters. Even if the step towards success may seem small, they see that it’s important.

On the opposite end, I’ve had people question my progress. I’ve mentioned that I did something that I usually back away from and instead of hearing their praise or that they think I did well, they just ask how it’s a big deal; how it qualifies as progress. I’m not going to lie – it hurts. I’m not saying that I constantly need recognition, but the last thing a person wants when they share their accomplishments with you, is to feel belittled or shut down. Any of us who have ever struggled with anything, know how difficult it can be to overcome our obstacles. We also know how good and refreshing it feels when it’s clear that they we stronger than what is holding us back. We want to be built up by ourselves and the ones we love, not torn down.

If you’ve experienced what I have – that some people aren’t understanding or kind when it comes to our struggles and hearing about our progress – then here is my advice. I recommend trying to save sharing your progress for the people who will actually appreciate and respect it. I know it’s hard not to want to shout your progress from the rooftop, but sometimes lending your happiness to others is a risky concept. Not everyone will be supportive and instead of showing you the respect you deserve, some will simply share harsh or careless words.

Again, and this is important to remember, there are people who will support, respect, and care for you. There are people who will go out of their way to cheer you on and to make you feel as special as you truly are. These are the people you want to allow into your lives and share both your good and bad times with. Don’t allow others to take away your sense of pride and accomplishment. No one can take away your progress, no one!

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Do It For You!

Due to health reasons, my therapist of about three years recently retired. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of months, but I had planned to return when I found out that he would no longer be seeing patients. To say the least, I was upset. I truly believe that he was the best therapist that I have ever seen. He was kind, caring, and in my opinion, had the best methods for helping me get through my anxiety. I could tell that he genuinely wanted to see me get better. I will miss him dearly.

For now, and I think at least for a while, I don’t plan on seeing anyone else. I know what I have to do to make the progress that I want to make – I have to face my fears in small, manageable steps on a consistent basis. I have to continue to work hard.

I have to admit that it’s strange not seeing my therapist anymore, but not just because of the usual reasons. Not only am I not physically going to his office as much anymore (I’m still seeing my psychiatrist), but I was regularly sending progress reports of how I was working daily to get through my anxiety. It’s strange not sending these reports on a daily basis. When I first decided to stop sending the reports (I was never told to stop, but out of respect for my therapist, I decided it would be best), it felt weird not reporting to him about my progress. It almost felt unnatural.

The thing is though, that I was never working hard to gain my therapist’s approval in the first place. Sure, there may have been some days where I didn’t feel like doing anything productive, but I did in order to look like I was trying (I know that sounds awful, but I’m only human), but I never once tried my hardest to get better for merely my therapist’s sake. I want to get through my anxiety for myself – so I can enjoy my life to the fullest and do things with the people I love, along with being more independent.

I realized that just because my therapist retired and I wouldn’t be sending him emails citing my progress, did not mean that I couldn’t and shouldn’t still be recording said progress. Every step that I take in order to get through my anxiety is important and in order to remind myself that I am strong enough to conquer my fears, I should be writing down the progress I make – not for my therapist, but for myself. After all, I am working hard so that I can be happy with my life, not so that someone else can be satisfied.

The point is this: you should be trying your hardest to get through your anxiety and over your other obstacles for yourself – not for anyone else. If you want to keep track of your progress, don’t just do so because you’re told to do so, do it because it’s beneficial for you. I understand the desire to want to get better so that you can spend time with the ones you love and that’s fine, but your main reason for getting better should be so that you can improve your life!

*Please know that I am not trying to state that if your therapist retires, that you shouldn’t search for a new one if you believe you should keep going to therapy. I may eventually see someone again for my anxiety, it’s just that at the moment, I think I need to simply utilize the tools I was given – to work hard on a consistent basis to get through my anxiety!

 

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Making Sure We Stay Motivated

One thing that I constantly find myself struggling with is keeping up with exercising and practicing getting through my anxiety. I know for a fact that facing my fears and stretching will help me conquer self-doubt and yet, at the same time, it’s hard to do so on a consistent  basis.

Let’s face it – we all get lazy, lack motivation, or simply forget to do what we need to. While it may seem difficult for some to believe, even when we want so badly to improve our lives, these three issues can still play a major part in our daily lives. As human beings, we have days where we simply get lazy. We also experience times when we lack the motivation to do what we know we need to do in order to succeed. It’s not that we don’t want to get better, we just don’t feel like putting in the work. Sometimes this is due to anxiety itself wearing us down and sometimes it’s just due to life. Also, there’s forgetfulness. Whether we forget to exercise and practice facing our fears because we’re doing other important things or because we’re simply watching TV, sometimes we just forget to do what’s necessary.

These are in no way good excuses. Nothing is really a good excuse not to do what’s important. However, things happen. We might start practicing facing our fears and exercising on a consistent basis, but then somewhere down the line, we fall behind a bit. We start noticing that maybe it’s been a while since we last really did what we know to be essential to getting better.

No one’s perfect and with that, comes the fact that there may be times when we let other things come before putting in our best effort. While it’s perfectly normal that this might happen, it doesn’t make it okay to continue to not do what we should be doing.

Pay attention to your progress. Pay attention to how often you’re practicing healthy habits in order to get through your anxiety and over other obstacles. If you catch yourself not putting in your best effort, try hard to do so. Remember, and this is key, that getting through your anxiety and other issues is important . You are important.

 

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The Butterfly

Today was horrible, seriously. I went to the doctor’s with a relative and things did NOT go well. My anxiety was incredibly high and my relative was not understanding.

I know I’ve said this a million times before, but I hate going through this. I hate how everything has to be so difficult. I try so hard but I know it must seem to others like I’m not trying at all. I constantly see myself failing to do as well as I would have liked and to be totally honest, it hurts.

I love my relative, I do. I also know how challenging it can be dealing with someone who has anxiety. Hell, it’s hard for me to go through it! I’m often tired of myself! Still though, I don’t find it that ridiculous to hope that someone so close to me would be helpful, patient, and supportive. Is that really too much to ask? Apparently it is.

The doctor and nurse were nice and caring. They told me that there was no pressure and that I needn’t apologize (I apologized like five times per person). I felt horrible and I didn’t want to put my relative and the staff through what I did, but my anxiety was awful!

Afterwards, I was waiting in the car while my relative went into a store. I was listening to music trying to calm myself and vent my frustrations when out of nowhere, I saw a butterfly. This butterfly was beautiful and for a moment, I smiled. There it was, this gorgeous orange butterfly just flying around. The weather was grey and ugly, but it was pretty! I guess what they say is true: even in the darkest of times, you can still find beauty.

I’m not saying that today went well – it didn’t. What I am saying is that there were times that I did okay. Plus, I did get through it. I went to the doctor’s and when you think about it, that counts for something, doesn’t it?

I want to remind everybody that even in difficult times, you’re not a failure. I want to thank Carla for reminding me of this. I know it can be hard when you’re going through something and all you feel like doing is crying to remember how great you are, but it’s true. You’re an amazing person and you can get over your obstacles!

Please don’t give up. Please don’t think you’re a failure just because you struggle. Please don’t let others make you feel like you’re not good enough or like you’re unsuccessful. Think about all of the progress you’ve made and all of the times you’ve been successful!

Thank you to everyone who supports me and all the kind doctors and nurses out there!

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Accomplishments!

Yesterday I accomplished something that I’m quite proud of! I did this with no anxiety and let me tell you, it felt amazing! For a little while, I was very conscious of what was going on, but then I started to relax and as I was succeeding, I realized just how great it all felt.

I was, and still am, super proud of myself. I told my parents and a friend how happy I was to have succeeded and they were all very proud of me. A part of me felt silly being so proud and expressing this pride, but then I realized something with the help of a friend: there is no accomplishment too small to be proud of and quite frankly, I don’t think my accomplishment was very small at all. It’s one thing to get through something and another to do so without feeling any anxiety, and I’m very proud to say that I did a job well done!

This leads me to another point: any progress that is made should be celebrated in a healthy way, whether it’s considered big or small. Also, while you shouldn’t depend on others for recognition, there is nothing wrong with sharing your happiness. Additionally, while some people may not appreciate your accomplishments, others will and these are the people that you should be most grateful for (not that you shouldn’t be grateful for the other people in your life. Some people just have a difficult time understanding what they do not struggle with).

I would like to thank the first friend I shared my success with (you know who you are!). Thank you so much for being here for me, for listening, and for always caring. Your friendship means the world to me and so does your support. Seriously, I’m so happy to have met you!

I also want to thank everyone who supports me. I want to thank those who take the time to read, comment on, and ‘like’ posts on my blog. I want to thank those who take the time to email me and really get to know me while at the same time respecting my privacy. Thank you so much!

Please remember guys: no amount of progress is too small to celebrate! Even if some others may not understand the big deal, succeeding at something positive always matters! So be proud of yourself, be grateful, and remember that succeeding means that you have the ability to get over your obstacles!

 

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Dangerous Habits For The Anxious Mind

Hey guys! I know I haven’t written a post about anxiety in a while. The truth is that I’ve been doing really well and I’m super proud of myself! I’ve been practicing and exercising on a consistent basis and I’m feeling really good about myself and my progress!

Anyway, I thought I would write a post today about some things that I’ve learned can be dangerous for one with anxiety. Now, don’t get me wrong, these habits really aren’t always the best in general, but for those of us who struggle with severe stress, they can be even more dangerous. So, without further ado, here are some bad habits that I suggest if you struggle with, you work hard to break!

1.) Over-thinking

  • This is a major problem for me. Many times, when I know I’ll have to do something or go somewhere that makes me anxious (or I think will), I obsess about it and over-think a great deal. I worry about the what-ifs and quite frankly, I start worrying way ahead of time. The problem with this is that when we obsess about negative outcomes, we tend to convince ourselves that the situation will go negatively and we leave little to no room for positive thinking. In a way, we almost doom ourselves before we even get a real chance to do well! Don’t get me wrong, we still have a great chance of doing well, but we make it harder on ourselves.

2.) Not distracting our minds

  • This habit kind of goes hand in hand with over-thinking. So many times when the negative thoughts kick in, we let them. Instead of setting our minds on more positive thoughts or actions, we just stay where we are and continue to dwell on our negative thoughts. Sometimes the best way to stop feeling anxious or stop thinking negatively, is to get up and distract ourselves! Do something positive! Write something, watch something you enjoy, read a good book, clean! Anything to get your mind off the negative!

3.) Worrying about others’ opinions of you/opinions of your progress

  • While sometimes listening to others’ opinions is helpful (a therapist, psychiatrist, trusted friend or family member, etc.), sometimes we allow the negative opinions and words of others to get us down. There are times when I know I’m making progress but the rude comments of others turn my good mood into a bad one. Sometimes I feel like they rip the happiness and feeling of success away from me. We can’t allow that to happen! If we make progress, we make progress. We cannot allow others to make us feel like we don’t try our best. If we know that we’re trying our best on a consistent basis, then that’s what we should focus on!

4.) Second guessing yourself

  • This is another habit that takes a lot of effort to break. Anxiety can be so strong sometimes that it makes us doubt our abilities to get through situations. Anxiety can sometimes make the easiest tasks seem extremely difficult. However, you can break that pattern! We are all stronger than our anxiety! We just have to work on a consistent basis to prove to ourselves that we can get through and over our fears!

5.) Not practicing and exercising on a consistent basis

  • This is a big one guys. Seriously. I’m not saying this to preach or to act like a professional therapist (because I’m not), but consistent effort really is key to getting through our anxiety. How do I know? I know because I’ve experienced it. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle way more than I want to. However, I see proof that practicing and exercising every day and on a consistent basis really does make a huge difference. It enforces the fact that we are stronger than what tries to hold us back. Remember, getting through our anxiety and living our life to the fullest is extremely important. It’s worth all the hard work!

If you struggle with any of these bad habits, please know that you are not alone. Also, please know that you do have the strength to get through your anxiety! 🙂

 

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