Im having to face up to a lot of things in therapy. Most are uncomfortable, a lot are really gruelling. It’s exhausting and relieving all at the same time. I some times leave with this crazy feeling of being so heavy with what we’ve discussed and yet so light that the burden is lifting. It’s a weirdly wonderful feeling.
One of the ones things I’m struggling with most is a complete shock to me. I didn’t even realise it could be a thing until it was a thing.
I’m not going to be that anxious person anymore.
Sounds great right?
And it is great, I know it's great, 6 weeks ago I couldn't fathom how my life would be if anxiety wasn’t the sole pushing force in everything I did, if I am honest I still can’t. Anxiety has been my whole 'personality' for the past decade. The internal dialogue in my head, no matter how horrendously awful it was - is the “person” I’ve talked to the most. Rationally (or irrationally, I’m still not sure) I think I owe my business to anxiety, the connection with people, the working all hours because I was convinced if I didn’t I’d fail. Everything I do (minus the housework) I put everything I have and more into, and when I look at my life I think even at the expensive of my mental health it has paid off.
I even think in some aspects, I’m a better person for it, mental health will never be a taboo subject in our house at least.
This new non anxious path is so difficult to navigate though, no matter how awful the situation was, how much I self sabotaged, alienated myself from people, the fear, the panic attacks, the complete lack of self worth, however much it hurt me and the people around me, there is also comfort in familiarity and I’m scared to let that part of me go.
Sometimes I think I’m excited about the change, but then I find myself in a situation where the anxious part of my brain would have kicked in and now there's nothing.
Well not quite nothing, my heart pounds in my chest. I can hear the anxiety telling me to panic, shouting how much we hate change, trying to make me be in control, flashing images through my mind of all the worst case scenarios, but now there's another voice, I'm not quite sure who it belongs to, but they are incredibly chill. Calmer than I have ever been in my life. I'm somehow detached from them both, listening in awe as the serene voice, shuts anxiety down with straight to the point answers. No arguing. No compromise. Just a solid affirmation.
I feel myself wanting to sliding back into my old habits because is like a security blanket reacting anxiously. I know the protocol, it’s shit but I know how it’s gonna play out. And now I don’t. I don’t know how I am supposed to react to things. I don’t know who I am without anxiety and I'm faced with this dilemma at every turn.
It can be simple things like non anxious me doesn’t wear these clothes, but I don’t know what she does wear. I look in the mirror and it just doesn't seem right. My face doesn't fit my brain.
As my self worth grows, I feel myself standing up for myself more, these little actions are changing all my relationships, I have so many urges to do things that I just can't quite put my finger on.
I'm stuck in this fearfully wonderful place where I am glad the old me is diminishing but I'm scared yet excited to see who is replacing her. I'm thrilled to not have to react to everything, but nervous because it's all I've ever known. It feels so fantastic to finally let my guard down but I'm still so frightened now I won't be prepared for some kind of disaster.
I am finally ready to start working out exactly who I am, and glad you are coming along for the ride.
I suffer a lot from intrusive thoughts and one of the things I've found and helps me so much is really simple.
As soon as I recognise an intrusive thought happening, I say something positive and then force myself to think about something else.
For example, If i get a headache and fall down the its probably a brain tumour rabbit hole. I tell myself I have a healthy body and move on.
If i convince Anth's leaving - "I am in a loving relationship"
My work is rubbish - "My business is going from strength to strength"
I don't have to believe it, I just have to say it and move on. No arguing, no compromising, no overthinking. Affirmation and done. Some days I seem to spend all day talking to myself, but I'm amazed at how much it helps.
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