“I just don’t like struggling at all”

Tonight I had another panic attack. I got really anxious and I could hardly stand. Everything seemed difficult. I hate that feeling.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been getting better. I’m very grateful for this. However, I still have moments where I get extremely anxious and I feel in those moments, like I’m falling apart and losing all the progress I’ve made. I know that isn’t true, but in that moment, that’s how it feels.

Sometimes I think that maybe I shouldn’t complain. After all, I used to struggle a lot more. Maybe I should just be appreciative that I’ve gotten better and not get so upset when I have a panic attack or become extremely anxious. Still, as I just told a relative, I don’t like struggling at all. And you know what? That’s okay! We don’t have to like it! In fact, we should strive to overcome our anxiety and get to the point that it no longer controls us. We shouldn’t just sit back and accept that our anxiety tries to control us. We should work hard to defeat it.

I think the secret is this: to get upset at our anxiety, not at ourselves. When we start to struggle and find our anxiety is taking over, we should try our hardest to stand up to it; to take charge. We shouldn’t get mad at ourselves. After all, it’s not our faults that we struggle.

Warrior and Worrier

You’ve probably seen the slogan all over countless forms of merchandise – warrior not worrier. Here’s my question: When did it become a matter of either or?

Don’t get me wrong. The ultimate goal when it comes to struggling with stress and anxiety is to worry less. However, I don’t think that just because we may struggle with anxiety, means that we are not warriors. In fact, dealing with something so difficult and not giving up – continuing to try our hardest to overcome our obstacles – is what makes us true warriors; true fighters.

The idea that we can’t be both; can’t be someone who both worries and who fights to overcome those fears, is preposterous. The notion that if we have anxiety, that makes us weak? Ridiculous. We are strong individuals who have the ability to get through our anxiety.

So next time you see a mug or T-shirt that says, ‘Warrior, not worrier’, remember that it is possible to be both. Remember that it is trying your hardest to overcome your obstacles and not allowing them to take control that makes you a warrior, not necessarily being free of all struggles.

More Progress!

Hey everybody!

I have some great news! On Sunday, I made some more progress with getting through my anxiety!

When I go to church, I usually sit in the back against the wall. I’ve gotten used to sitting there and I do extremely well. This last Sunday, however, someone was sitting where I usually sit, meaning that I had to sit somewhere else. While I was nervous at this idea, I felt confident that I would be okay. Still, during the service, I became a bit anxious.

It wasn’t easy sitting in a new spot. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but sitting against the wall where I know I can lean my head if I have to (I haven’t had to in a long time, but just knowing I can is a huge help), was nerve-racking. As many of you who deal with anxiety probably know, when anxiety hits, it can feel as if you’re trapped and while sitting in a different spot, that’s how I started to feel at one point.

When I started focusing on how I was sitting somewhere different, that’s when my anxiety hit. You might be thinking that I should have just stopped thinking about it right away, but that can be way easier said than done. My mind was focused on it and then I started thinking about how there was nowhere to rest my head if I needed to. Panic began to settle in.

However, I got through it. It wasn’t easy, but I did. I started focusing on other things – on my grandparents (who have both passed away, but used to be at church with my mom and I when I was younger), on the necklace I was wearing around my neck that reminded me of my grandpa, on what was being said in church, and on my hair which I was twirling nervously, but that helped me relax. Eventually, I calmed down and I got through mass! It wasn’t easy, but I did it!

While to some, this may not seem like a big accomplishment, I know otherwise. Ever since I’ve started going back to church, I’ve been sitting in the back (other then one time when I sat in the front when my grandpa died – another sign of progress), but this time was different. I did something that I’m not used to – even though I was anxious – and I got through it. Taking small steps towards reaching one’s goal does matter and being able to stay the whole time during mass while being anxious is a big deal!

It felt great that I got through my anxiety on my own. Yes, my mom was sitting right next to me, but I never told her I needed to leave or anything like that. There would have been nothing wrong with that if I did, but I didn’t. I got through it on my own and that hasn’t always been easy for me in the past. Counting on myself to calm down has always been difficult – I tend to obsess on my anxiety, which leads to me feeling the need to leave wherever I am. Even now as I write this, I feel slightly stressed. It’s a scary thing feeling anxious and not knowing if you can get through it. But again, I did and it felt amazing!

To all of you out there who struggle, with hard work on a consistent basis, you can and will get through your anxiety and over any obstacles that come your way. It just takes time, patience, and a lot of effort. Try your hardest to have confidence in yourself – you deserve it!

 

I Did It!

Hey everybody! Today I’d like to share some exciting news with you!

I used to love shopping – seriously. However, once my anxiety began hitting hard, it became more and more difficult to go out, especially for long periods of time. While I know I’ve made significant progress over the years, I still have a long way to go.

In terms of shopping, there is really only one place where I feel somewhat comfortable, and even there I struggle with walking around without getting anxious. It’s hard for me to focus on simply looking at things and enjoying myself while I’m worrying so much and I tend to get shaky and have to sit down. However, I will say that in general, I do pretty well there.

Today I did something amazing. My dad and I went out to buy some gifts for the holidays and when he asked if I’d like to try to go in, I said yes. I asked that we use a cart so I could hold on and he said alright. While I did hold onto the cart while we walked around, I stayed in the store the whole time and did great! I held onto my dad’s arm while we left the store because I felt a bit shaky, but I’m extremely proud of myself! There would have been a time when I would have either not tried going in the store at all or would have had to leave the store before we were finished shopping. Today I stayed inside the whole time, helped with finding everything, and didn’t get overly anxious. I can’t tell you how good that felt!

The point of this story is that even though it may seem like you’ll never get through your anxiety or over your obstacles, you can and will if you work hard on a consistent basis. There was a time when I wouldn’t have thought I could go shopping like I did today; when I didn’t think I could possibly stay the whole time, walk around, and leave without getting uncontrollably anxious – but I did! If I never would have gone in today and tried, I never would have seen how well I could have done!

So if you struggle with anxiety or some other issue, don’t feel like you’ll never overcome these obstacles. As long as you work hard and never give up, you can and will continue to make progress!

I wish you all the best in overcoming your obstacles!

“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!

To Those Who Wrongfully Label – A Letter

Dear Label Maker,

 
Please resist the urge to label that which you don’t understand. I know that sometimes the world can be a confusing place and that it brings out the temptation to create definitions, but doing so can be harmful to others. If you want to understand what someone is going through, please have the decency to ask instead of jumping to conclusions.

 
Creating false labels is not only caustic to those who you label, but also causes misconceptions and stigmas. Stigmas are extremely dangerous because they put people into categories and set limits that no matter what, people cannot escape due to the fact that so many people put their faith in these false notions instead of faith in individuals to overcome their obstacles.

 
Mislabeling is also extremely selfish. While labeling someone may cause you relief because it leaves you feeling like you understand a situation, it causes the individual you are labeling unease and discomfort. It is hard enough struggling without having to deal with others making up their own conclusions based on what they hear, read, or simply make up in their mind.

 
Last but not least, mislabeling breeds ignorance. Being ignorant on a certain subject is never a positive thing; this goes for both the individual who labels and the person being labeled. Having false intelligence about something is not the same as being truly educated and having the wrong idea about something or someone, can lead to mistreatment – and incorrect treatment – of others.

 
I hope that if you are reading this, you realize the ramifications of labeling someone or something that you don’t truly understand. Mislabeling only leads to aggravation and hurt feelings. If you want to make sure you truly understand something and are not just creating your own definitions, please ask the person who is struggling in a kind way to explain what they are going through. I guarantee they will appreciate you coming to them first instead of going to others for information.

 

Thank You,

B.G.

Doing Your Best

Anxiety sucks for countless reasons – seriously. I hate how there are so many things that I want to do yet don’t because anxiety gets in the way. I also hate how pathetic my anxiety makes me feel and, while I hate to admit it, how embarrassing my anxiety can be.

Today I was reflecting on how there was a time, when I didn’t over-think so much and I did things without thinking twice. I used to go shopping, go to school, and hang out with friends without worrying like I do now. Now, I need help doing things and to be honest, there are times when I feel utterly pathetic.

While I’d love to say that I never get embarrassed by my anxiety – I do. I get embarrassed when someone sees me struggling with simple things and I can’t help thinking, “Man I must look pathetic!”. I know that it’s possible that sometimes I’m too hard on myself, but it’s hard not to be when I’m not always proud of how I act. Plus, I know deep down that I’m able to do these things with ease and that it’s just my anxiety trying to convince me otherwise.

I think what’s important is that we try our hardest to do our best and focus on the positive. I know it may not always seem like there’s anything positive to focus on, but there is. Today I felt pathetic because my anxiety made me feel slightly dependent – a feeling that I hate. However, at the same time, I stayed where I was the entire time and didn’t leave, something that I easily could have done if I wanted. Heck, I didn’t even have to make the effort to go where I did in the first place, but I did. That’s progress.

I still must admit though that I hated the way anxiety made me look today. Anxiety has a way of making the strong look weak and the intelligent look stupid. I usually consider myself quite mature but sometimes when anxiety hits, I feel the exact opposite.

We have to hold on to the positive though and remember who we really are. I’m not my anxiety. In the past (though I’ve struggled with anxiety for a long time), there were times when I did the things that are now difficult, with ease. I know that there is nothing physically wrong with me and that the reason I struggle is just because of anxiety. We cannot let anxiety take over or make us feel bad about ourselves!

Anxiety’s Game

Lately I’ve been making a lot of progress – something that feels amazing! While I’m still not exactly where I want to be, I’ve noticed that I’m getting better at certain things. However, as we all know, anxiety tends to try to fight back when it sees that you’re trying harder to overcome it.

Along with noticing that I’ve been improving in some ways, I’ve also noticed that something else is starting to really bother me. I’ve been starting to have more irrational thoughts and I’ve started obsessing about them. Yesterday I talked to my therapist about this and he asked why I thought this was. I explained that it was probably my anxiety’s way of trying to fight back and he agreed.

While we want to get better and fight our anxiety, another part of our brain wants to hold on to that worry. For one thing, for many of us it’s become a habit, and for another, anxiety is stubborn that way. When anxiety sees us taking control, it will try to throw something else at us; trying to knock us off track. We cannot allow it to succeed.

So what can we do? My therapist gave me some good advice. If you start having negative thoughts and you find yourself obsessing about them, remind yourself that they’re irrational and remind yourself how they’re irrational. Then, force yourself to stop obsessing about the thoughts, and get up and do something! Distract yourself with something positive. As my therapist pointed out, the less you focus on the negative thoughts, the less damage they can cause and the less real they will appear.

As always, I wish you all the best!

Everyday Things

I hope this post doesn’t sound like a cry for pity! The truth is that sometimes I just feel really down about my anxiety and I feel the need to express myself. This is one of those times.

I just went to a restaurant with my family and I struggled. I got through lunch and did eat a little, but I felt a lot more anxious than I would have hoped. I also became really anxious when we left. On the way home, I couldn’t help thinking about how badly I wish I could just do normal, everyday things with ease. I see so many people doing things that cause me tons of anxiety without even thinking twice about it.

Sometimes I wonder why things have to be so hard for me. I know that my issues have to do with my way of thinking, but it doesn’t stop the struggle from being real; from seeming scary. I hate the fact that things that should be simple and usually are for others, can be so difficult for me. I used to be able to do things with ease and now, things have become difficult at times.

It hurts. It hurts to see myself go through this, to want to get through this so badly and still struggle on such a regular basis. I try, I really do, but for some reason I just keep struggling.

Then there’s the medication situation I talked about yesterday. Would more medicine help? Maybe. Do I want to keep throwing medication at myself and hope that I get better and not worse? Not really. I don’t want to keep pouring medicine down my throat, I want to get through this by practicing and exercising instead of taking as much medicine as I possibly can!

Am I complaining a lot? Maybe. Still, I don’t like going through this and struggling with anxiety so much. I know that some things make people anxious, but not to degree that it effects me. Also, some of the things that cause me a lot of anxiety are so simple, or at least should be.

I’m not saying that I’m not improving or that I’m not grateful for the progress I’ve made. Rather, I’m saying that I don’t want to keep struggling like this and that it’s difficult to deal with.

I know I’m not alone in this battle. I know that everyday tons of people struggle with anxiety. I know that I’m not the only one who goes through this, who wishes things would be simpler. I’m not going to say that it’s worse for me than for anyone else, because I can’t possibly know that and I’m sure there are others who struggle to the same degree or more so than myself. Even for those who don’t struggle as much as I do, I know it’s hard.

I just want to say, that I understand and that you’re not alone. I want to say that I’m sorry to those of you who struggle with anxiety, who might struggle with things that are normally quite simple. I want to say that although it might not always seem like it, you can get through your anxiety with hard, consistent work. I also want to say that I’m here for you and that a lot of other people are as well. You are loved and cared for. Stay strong and remember that you can get through this!

*As always I would like to thank all those who support me in my journey to get through anxiety!

Trying Extra Hard

Today I tried to accomplish something that I haven’t attempted in a long time. To be honest, I have mixed feeling about my progress. On one hand, I feel slightly disappointed. I was able to try what I wanted to, but I didn’t succeed to the full extent that I would have hoped. On the other hand, I did try and for my first attempt in a long time, I did fairly well.

Because I wasn’t fully happy with my results, I did the task again in the usual way that I get it done. I’m not going to lie – it was a pain. I had just tried to do what I wanted the ‘normal’ way and here I was, doing it again because I couldn’t just do it originally how I wanted.

I will be the first to admit it – it’s hard not being able to just do things that so many others find simple. Why does everything have to be so hard for me?

I’m ashamed to say that a part of me felt like trying today was pointless. After all, I just had to do the task over since I wasn’t happy with the first attempt. However, I know that the point isn’t to be perfect, but to try one’s hardest.

Trying extra hard can be stressful. I know that as I write this, I’m stressed. I’m tired of everything being so complicated and I’m tired of feeling so worn out from anxiety. I know deep down though that trying is worth it and I am proud that I gave it my all this morning.

Perfection is never guaranteed. Heck, perfection isn’t possible. If we try hard on a consistent basis though, we will be rewarded! So please don’t ever think that there is no point in trying. Some things take time, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t reach our goals!