Do You Know How Strong You Are?

strength and recovery from panic attacksI read something today about what it takes- as far as strength- to live with anxiety. It is wonderful and I couldn’t wait to share it with you:

People with anxiety are very strong.  If there were a fire in a movie theater, the anxious person would be the first one to run into that closed space and rescue his child.  That’s because people with anxiety disorder have built such powerful muscles to appear strong and in control, we can use that same strength to give us courage. In a pinch, we’ll definitely come through. After all, our whole life has felt like a pinch.

-Lucinda Bassett, From Panic to Power

That passage resonated with me so much because I realized how true this was, both about me, and about you.

We exert so much energy trying to appear normal on the outside, while on the inside, we may be going through agony with our racing thoughts or anxiety symptoms. Still somehow, more often than not, we get the haircut, make it through the meeting, stay in class, get on the plane, do the shopping, etc, etc. Is this easy? Hell no!! You know it yourself– this is the hardest thing in the world. And yet we do it- some of us do it multiple times a day.

We may feel defeated and weak, but this- our self control- is a measure of our real strength. This is the essence we must tap into in order to pursue recovery from panic attacks and anxiety.

The amount of self control we teach ourselves is pretty amazing. Sure, I may get the impulse that Im going to fall out of my chair in the middle of a meeting, go crazy, bolt out of the room and never come back…But most of the time, I stay. I wait out the crappy feelings of anxiety, or have the freaking panic attack, and then just feel wobbly for awhile… But most of the time, I stay..

And that– the staying– the persisting– the strength of control– is pretty amazing if you ask me.

A reader commented here awhile back about giving a speech. She was explaining 3 simultaneous dialogues going through her head. The first was the speech, the second was her anxious thoughts, and the third was her voice of reason telling her she could get through this, that she was going to be ok. She remained composed, delivered the speech, got great feed back, and felt great afterwards. Who does this? Really?? Who else can do this kind of mental gymnastics (multitasking)? Who, but an anxious person??

If that’s not one powerful, strong woman, then I don’t know what is.

In my recent history (as I continue to recover from anxiety), I will often ‘fess up’ to close freinds or family members that I just had, or am having a panic attack. And do you know what they always say? Something like, “Really? You seem so calm.”  No one ever knows. This is me doing the public cover up, trying to appear calm and collected. I’ve never had a panic attack where I didn’t try to hide it, and I’m betting you haven’t either.

The point of this post is to remind you- You Are Strong. Stronger than the average person. And you can tap into this amazing strength, and use it to fuel your recovery from panic attacks and anxiety.

How? In baby baby steps. First, learn to stop the negative self talk that comes with anxious thinking. Learn to recognize it when it’s happening, and turn it into something neutral or positive. Love your self a little.

Then learn a little about first and second fear. Then recognize when you’re adding the second fear to first fear, and stop it.

Have an anxiety tool kit. I have my favorite resource books, my program, my audio CDs. And I use them.

I am channeling my strength into my anxiety recovery. I am getting better. In baby steps. And this is what I wish for you too. Tap into a fraction of the strength you use every day to cover up your anxiety and learn to channel that energy into your recovery. You have what it takes. :)

Stay Strong, I believe in you!

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

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7 Responses to Do You Know How Strong You Are?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Do You Know How Strong You Are? | Anxiety Self Help | Learn How to Stop Panic Attacks & Get Your Life Back -- Topsy.com

  2. Jeff says:

    You’re not kidding! What a great and pwerful connection between anxiety and strength both physically and mentally. Very interesting and thanks for sharing!

  3. Z says:

    I agree! We ARE strong people! Others have no idea what we are going through. Many don’t even believe it is real – that it is all in our head. It is real and it is a fight. Everyday. Thank you for helping me to see it from this perspective. I have felt weak. I have felt defeated. Now I feel strong. And I will need that strength tonight….

  4. Head Coach says:

    I recently just finished a raw whole foods diet. As someone with Aspergers syndrome I would get bad anxiety if I had too much free time. Not quite a panic attack but it wasn’t fun. After eliminating animal protein I found that my anxiety became much less where there would be long strings of time where I wouldn’t need Adderall (the only thing other than alcohol that helps my anxiety).

    If you have not given a raw whole foods diet a try, you might want to give it a go. People like us are bombarded by bad medical advice when often most of what we need is in our garden or sold in the form of superfood from organic farmers.

  5. Karen Evans says:

    And so…who would have thought that there is a strong connection between anxiety and strength or that the two can be combined together and come up with a better performance. Helen Reddy said, “strong, invincible, woman” – any connection there, too? Just asking.

  6. Lee says:

    Thank u so much for this! I have been struggling through anxiety and panic disorder for the past 4 months after experiencing a year of major life changes and an extremely stressful job which I subsequently lost due to the company downsizing. At first I didn’t know or even understand what was going on because I just woke up one morning, went about my day and out of the blue had a severe anxiety attack. My GP sent me for every possible blood test, checked my blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and even had an ECG done to check if I had any heart problems. All tests came back 100% clear which put my mind at ease because I was convinced I was dying of some incurable disease. I have been prescribed medication which I have been on for about 3 weeks now but I still have my off days when I can’t bear to walk out my door because the anxiety gets that bad. I am taking it one day at a time, doing some breathing exercises and I’ve also started meditation and lots of prayer. The worst part about this condition is that I am not the person I was before this all started. I was an extremely sociable person who loved going out, meeting up with friends for dinners and drinks, spending weekends having fun but that has all changed. I can’t bear to go out and meet up with friends anymore because I’m so afraid of having an anxiety attack. I have’nt even drank a social glass of wine since this started because I so afraid. My priority is to work through this as I am a single parent with a teenage son who needs my full attention. I have an excellent family support system but sometimes I don’t think they really understand the nightmare that I am going through.

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