If you polled a thousand people who suffer from debilitating anxiety or panic attacks and asked them what is it they really want, the answer would be the same: a cure.
Heck if you polled a million anxious people and asked them, the answer would be the same.
But what I have come to learn over the years of living with my anxiety disorders is that the word cure can be very misleading. Anxiety is not a switch that can be turned “on” or “off” at will.
It is also highly subjective, meaning what it means for me to be cured is probably different than what it means for someone else to be cured.
That’s why I’m always skeptical when hear someone claim they can cure my anxiety. And by the way, no one has cured me, I am taking responsibility for my own anxiety recovery and seeing good results.
I think most anxious people would agree that if they could get to the point where having anxiety no longer bothered them or caused their life to be restricted in any way, that would be a pretty full recovery. That would be as close to a “cure” as you could get.
And that , I think, is the ultimate goal of everyone who is serious about getting a handle on their anxiety and panic attacks.
Most of us know on some level that in order to get better, we are eventually going to have to face those fears that caused the problem in the first place.
And that is a VERY TALL ORDER.
I chose to stay heavily over medicated for years because the prospect of facing those fears (going to work, socializing, grocery shopping, hell – pretty much anything that involved social interaction) was just too much for me to bear.
And hello, I was working full time, raising my kids, and being a wife. I used to think, who has time to actually work on recovery?? I can’t afford to take time off from work. I thought about taking a medical leave of absence, but knew I would never do it. Besides, if I did that, I would have to expose my terrible secret, that I was a freak of nature, incapable of coping with every day life.
In retrospect, I know that this mindset was distorted. I am not a freak of any sort. I also realize I did the best I could over the years, and once I knew better, I acted differently.
I guess it was around the time of my 40th birthday that my thinking about anxiety recovery changed quite a bit. I was sick of being tired all the time and having to take naps every day due to my medications. I was sick of going around in a fog all the time. And my antidepressant was so high, I couldn’t even cry, not even at my beloved grandfathers’ funerals. It hurt not to be able to cry.
I got to the point where living this way was no longer an option for me. I decided that no matter what, I wanted to feel my real feelings, get off some of those mind altering medications, and see if the real Jill was still somewhere inside. I had buried the essence of myself for my whole young adult life, under years of shame, self sabotage and fear.
None of Us Were Born This Way
You have to recognize the extent or degree that anxiety and panic attacks have affected and restricted your life. And basically that may well be the extent of the effort you are going to have to put into your anxiety recovery in order for *you* to get better.
My case was very severe, and over 30 years in the making; hence, my recovery is something I personally have to work on every day.
It’s not easy and I do get discouraged at times. But overall, by consistently challenging my anxious thoughts with rational thinking, not adding 2nd fear to my first fears, working my program, and taking very good care of myself, I am as close to being fully recovered (cured) as I have ever been.
I know some of you wish it were as easy as just taking a magic pill- so do I.
But friends, that is not the reality of the situation.
If you want to get serious and really get all the life back you may have lost to the anxiety monster, you do have to take matters into your own hands: Get a good doctor, really persist until you get a good one. There are a lot of shitty doctors out there so it’s easy to get discouraged with the medical profession, but press on, it’s your life after all.
And remember: your doctor isn’t your savior. He’s just one component of your anxiety recovery.
Read books that help you. Keep them on hand for ready reference. You will need the reassurance as you pursue your anxiety recovery.
Seek out a community of like minded people. Anxiety forums can be really useful. You can always reach out here too. I love your comments, and they really benefit all of us.
Find an online program that resonates with you, and work it. Really truly work it with everything you’ve got.
That’s what I do, and I’m getting better. I’m not anyone special, I’m not privileged in any way. I’m just online blogging about it. Believe me, if I can do this, you can do it too.
By committing yourself fully to your anxiety recovery, your *cure*, you are giving yourself (and your loved ones) the greatest gift.
All glory comes from daring to begin.
-Eugene F. Ware
What are you doing about your anxiety recovery today?
I wish you peace,
I have had great success using the Panic Away program. It was truly worth it’s weight in gold when I bought it 3 years ago because *finally* I learned exactly how to stop the panic attacks. I still use & highly recommend this wonderful program. Click here to learn more.