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!

Standard

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!

 

Standard

Apologies & Recognition

Yesterday I went out with one of my relatives. While I did become slightly anxious and needed their help coming and going, I think that all and all, I did pretty well. I got through the experience and for a long time, that was something that seemed impossible.

Even though I ended up doing okay, once I was back in the car, I found myself apologizing that I struggled a little. Now, sometimes, even much later on, I realize how difficult my anxiety might have been to deal with. However, later on yesterday after I had calmed down, I realized that I really didn’t do too horribly. I went out, I stayed the entire time, and I even enjoyed myself for a little bit before I became anxious. All in all, I did an okay job. The thing is, though, that for some reason I still felt guilty.

I think part of the reason that I feel guilty so often is because I wish that I didn’t struggle at all. I wish that I could do things without feeling so anxious – without asking at times for help from others. The thing that I have to remember though is that I have made progress and that the journey to get through anxiety is often one that takes a lot of hard work. It doesn’t happen over night.

Also, while I’m not trying to play the blame game, there are some people who seem to try to make us feel guilty. They come off (and might well be) as embarrassed of our struggle. Sometimes their feelings are quite obvious and this can be hard to deal with. After all, it’s hard enough for us to go through this let alone witness our loved ones being embarrassed of our issues.

We need to remember to count on ourselves for approval and recognition. Yesterday after apologizing to my relative, she said, “Sometimes you just need to push through”. While this may be true, I also think she tends not to realize how hard ‘pushing through’ anxiety can really be. Sometimes it is so strong that it doesn’t just allow you to step through its hold.

Instead of apologizing yesterday, I should have simply told myself that I did pretty well. I should have just mentally assessed that while I could do better next time, there was a time when I would have struggled even more. If my relative couldn’t see that, it’s too bad. Relying on her to tell me how well I did was pointless – especially when she tends to only see the mistakes I make or struggles that occur.

Apologizing isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes when I really feel like I’ve caused a lot of frustration because someone had to deal with my anxiety, I think apologizing is the right thing to do. However, there are times when no matter what, you can’t satisfy the person who you’re dealing with. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, if you’re not absolutely struggle-free, they’ll grow angry.

The bottom line is this – we are not burdens. While our anxiety might be frustrating for both ourselves and others, we’re not burdens and it is not our fault that we struggle. As long as we are trying our hardest on a consistent basis to get better, this is what matters.

There may be times when others try to make us feel guilty for struggling with anxiety or other issues. There may even be times when others grow embarrassed of our struggles – maybe you’ve been embarrassed of your struggle yourself. I know I have. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.

Please know that you don’t have to be embarrassed of your struggle. You are not alone. We all go through things. While we may all struggle in different ways, we all deal with hardships. Whether or not it always feels like it, there are people whom you can trust and who will support you.

Standard

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.

 

Standard

The Importance of Sharing Your Experiences

A friend of mine mentioned how I haven’t posted about my anxiety on here in a while. This is very true and I think the reason for this is because, honestly, not much has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some improvements and these improvements are far from unimportant, it just doesn’t seem like I’ve made tons of progress in terms of getting through my anxiety.

Maybe another reason I haven’t posted about my anxiety much lately is because it’s a little embarrassing to me that I’m still struggling so much. I’m so happy for how far I’ve come and I know that I’ve made a lot of progress since the very beginning of my struggle with anxiety, but I still feel like I have a long way to go.

I hate going through this – I hate not doing the things I love because my anxiety makes me feel weaker than I actually am. Anxiety isn’t always the easiest thing to shake off and it has a way of trying to convince you of things that are far from the truth.

I guess I’ve felt like I haven’t had much to say about my anxiety as of late. It’s not as if I’ve made an unbelievable amount of progress or that it’s as if I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be so anxious. No, I still know what that feeling is like and I still experience it quite a bit.

The truth is though, that I have made progress and that every bit of progress is important. I’ve gotten outside more, I’ve been doing better inside the house, and I even published two books! These are amazing accomplishments! I’ve always felt that any positive accomplishment is worth celebrating and that every individual who has been through something has something valuable to share. Who am I to doubt the importance of my words or the words of anyone else?

Don’t doubt that you have something important to say. Don’t doubt that you can help others. Just because you’re struggling does not mean you haven’t made progress!

I hope that everyone’s doing well.

*Special thanks to the friend who reminded me why I started this blog.

 

 

Standard

Mental Health Update

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well!

I don’t know how many of you still check out my blog on a regular basis, but you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted a lot about anxiety lately. This is in no way because I don’t struggle anymore (unfortunately, I still struggle a lot) or that I don’t care about mental health issues, but rather because when it comes to writing, I’ve been focusing on writing more positive things.

I feel it’s only right to update you on my mental health. As I mentioned, I still struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. The panic attacks aren’t nearly as bad and frequent, but the general anxiety is very difficult for me. I’m still trying on a daily basis to get through it. On a positive note, I have made a lot of progress in some areas!

In addition, unfortunately, I haven’t been exercising and facing my fears like I should. It’s a horrible trap to fall into – I think pure laziness and being occupied with other things has gotten in the way. On one hand, distracting my mind with working on my writing is a good thing, but on the other, I should definitely still be spending a lot of energy on working hard to get better. By just sitting around, my anxiety isn’t going to lessen or be easier to manage.

I want you to all know that I am still here for you – seriously. I’m not going to stop blogging about anxiety and mental health. If you need to talk, I’m here.

Please remember that the best way to get through anxiety is to do what works best for you. Taking small, manageable steps in facing fears is what I find personally helpful. It allows the anxiety sufferer to take their own, beneficial steps in order to overcome their obstacles.

Once again I hope you are all doing well.

-B.G.

Standard

Once Upon A Time…

I think it’s common for anxiety sufferers (especially when the individual has experienced times of freedom from anxiety), to look back on when they were better with a sense of longing and sadness – sadness that things that were once easy, now seem difficult.

Today I went out with my family and while I did pretty well, I was upset that I struggled a little. I thought about how just a few years ago, I was in college doing things on my own. Now, things that I never thought would seem difficult, sometimes do.

However, after mentioning to my dad how this fact upset me, he brought up a good point. While it might be upsetting to see myself struggling so much, I should also realize that I struggled even more at one point that I do now. There are things that, while still challenging due to my anxiety, are getting a little easier again. My dad was right, there are definitely areas in which I am improving and while I still need to work even harder, I’ve made progress because I have taken the steps to do so. I’m grateful that I’m making progress and I should be proud of myself. In many ways, I am proud of myself.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the light through the darkness. As cliche as that sounds, it’s true. Next time you feel a sense of sadness and defeat due to struggling and remembering how you were doing much better, remember all of the progress you have made!

Standard