Inside The Anxious Mind
It’s hard to explain to people why my anxiety exists because sometimes I feel no anxiety. I have recently found myself in situations that would have caused panic attacks a year ago. I feel freed from the fear that has terrorized me for so long. I can, for the first time in a long time, feel normal. I remember that there isn’t anything wrong with me. I’m okay. Right now, I’m okay. There’s nothing to be afraid of. In the present moment, things are fine. They’re fine as long as you believe they’re fine.
But what happens when you stop believing, if even for a split second, that things are fine? The doubt comes rushing back in like a tidal wave. Things that were bearable last week are suddenly mountains that you have to climb. I know I was able to do it last week, but what if for whatever reason this week is different? This is a whole new situation. A new scenario. It could go well, or it could turn out horribly wrong. And going into it, there’s no way to tell which way things will go. You start to dread the event that is going to take place. There’s no backing out, no running away. You can’t run away from it this time. Even more paralyzing than the fear of the event itself is the fear of fear. You don’t want to feel afraid. You would rather run away and live your life in denial than face the fear that is filling your abdomen and making you feel sick to your stomach. And with that feeling you convince yourself that if you could handle it, now you can’t. Now you’re feeling sick, and everything is even harder when you’re sick. The odds are even more stacked against you, and the more you think about it the worst it gets until your whole world spirals out of control.
Take a deep breath. Every thought you have contributes towards your future. You can either think yourself better, or you can think yourself worse. Every second is a chance to change the outcome. Smile. You’ll feel a bit better. Meditate. Relax. Do things you love. Things that are just for you, not for anyone else. Take some time to go out and get some fresh air. Recharge. You’ve been training yourself for years that this way of thinking is okay. Challenge your thoughts. Are they helping? If not, put the lies in their place. Tomorrow is a new day. For that matter, today is a new day. It’s different from yesterday, so it doesn’t matter if yesterday was difficult or easy. It’s a new moment, and with every new moment you have the chance to change things. Don’t let minor setbacks veer you off course. You’re going to be okay. Trust yourself. You’ve shown how strong you can be, even though you don’t look at it as strength. You’re a survivor of an internal war that people don’t talk about, that people don’t understand. Know that understanding your illness is a huge step towards the path of healing. You’re on the path of healing, trying not to fall off along the way. And you’re not alone.
I may be in recovery, but I still struggle with my anxiety. I’m not afraid to admit it. Everyone feels anxiety sometimes. Some of us just feel it more often and in larger doses than the rest of them. This is temporary. One day you’ll look back at this and wonder why things were so difficult for you at that time. One day you’ll be healed and realize what an enormous feat you had to tackle to face your anxiety head on. And you’ll realize that even when you were at your weakest, even when you were broken, you showed an enormous amount of strength just to keep on fighting.