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!



Ideas for Tracking Progress

So I know how difficult it can be (especially during a panic attack or moment of anxiety), to always remember the progress that we have made in the past. Also, it seems to me, that it can also be hard to remember that we all have talents and positive qualities. So, how can we remember that we do have positive abilities and that we have made progress? Here are some suggestions!

1.) Participate in Sandy’s Grains of Sand. For more information, click here!

  • This is a great opportunity to write down positive events and any positive progress that you have made. Sandy created this creative project and I am so grateful that she did! It’s really helped me realize just how much I can and have accomplished. Thank you, Sandy!

2.) Write daily progress reports

  • This is similar to Sandy’s Grains of Sand, but it’s a daily account of everything you’ve done to practice facing your fears. This can include exercising and stretching as well. I do this and it really does help me realize how much progress I’ve made and can continue to make if I work hard on a consistent basis.

3.) Write on sticky notes positive accomplishments and stick them all around the house where you will see them.

  • I don’t do this personally, but I think it would be an excellent way to remind yourself of your progress. Plus, everywhere you go, you would be reminded that you are stronger than your struggles!

4.) Make a box filled with positive accomplishments and each day, pull one out and read it.

  • I didn’t come up with this idea myself but I have read about it (or something similar) and I think it’s a really good idea to constantly remind yourself of your progress. I don’t do this, but one day I might try.

5.) Have someone who is kind and trustworthy remind you when you are struggling that you have made progress. Ask them to give you examples so you can realize that this is true.

  • While you shouldn’t always rely on others for approval, etc., sometimes it helps to hear from someone else that you have made progress and that there are examples of the progress you have made.

6.) Set alarms/reminders on your phone that when they go off, remind you of something you have accomplished. For example, if you have managed to face a fear and succeed, you could have a reminder on your phone go off!

  • Setting a reminder that uses sound and has something that you can read, embeds the message into your mind that you have been successful in the past and that you can continue to be successful!

7.) Keep a notebook in your purse or pocket that is full of accomplishments that you have made.

  • I do this and it’s a great reminder when I’m out of the house of what I’ve been able to accomplish. It reminds me that I am stronger than my anxiety!

8.) Participate in The B.G. Getting Through Anxiety Talent Blog Challenge

  • This is a way to remind yourself of the talents you possess and how you can use them to help others as well as yourself!

Have you tried any of these methods? Do you find them helpful? If you have additional suggestions, please feel free to comment! Thank you!

*Just so everyone knows, I did not write this post as an advertisement for my challenge. I merely wanted to share some ideas for tracking and reminding ourselves of our progress/talents!