Tackling Anxiety Face First
When I was 28 years old, I was diagnosed with social anxiety and a panic disorder. Now, granted, I knew I was anxious. I had been struggling with most social activities for several years at that point, and I needed to figure out how to deal with it.
Granted, I was tired of it. I didn't like the feelings that I felt when I had to get groceries or at those times when I needed to go ahead and pick up the phone to make a phone call.
And to be honest, I'd tried dealing with it a few times before. I'd been in and out of counseling, seeing a total of 5 different counselors before I started working with the one that helped me with my breakthrough. I worked with one other after her, mainly because number 6 ended up moving so I had to get a new one to finish things out.
I'm 35 now, and life was very different. I did better in crowds, I could go grocery shopping when it was busy, and while the phone was still a bother, it didn't almost cause me to have a panic attack every time I picked it up.
Here's the thing - for all that progress I've made; for how much easier it is for me to interact and function with the world around me, there are still things I deal with every day (and COVID certainly hasn't helped that at all).
Am I saying that therapy didn't work? Absolutely not. Get that thought out of your mind right now - therapy changed my life and, in a lot of ways, it saved my life. But, it didn't make that diagnosis disappear. When I got discharged from therapy in December of 2016, it was not because I no longer had all of my diagnoses. In fact, I was more comfortable with them than I'd ever been before. Because I'd learned to deal with it face first. No more burying my face in my hands - I learned how to trip and fall right into those potentially anxiety-inducing moments - and embrace them for what they were. Sometimes, they'd cause anxiety; other times, they wouldn't. And I was no longer frozen by that reality.
So, why in the world am I telling you all this?
In today's world, we think that there are "cure-alls" for whatever we are dealing with. Whether it's mental illness, marriage problems, physical ailments, or whatever else we're facing. We want there to be a magic pill that we can take in order to make us "normal."
I'm here to tell you that everyone's normal is different. My normal is going to look very different from Ellen's normal, or Andrea's normal, and their "normals" are very different as well.
Because of that, it's important to be able to face that normal. To find therapists that can help you to find that normal. To trust God when He says that He loves you, no matter what that normal is.
Even if you fall face first into normal (which is what most of us have been doing in this pandemic), it's okay. Normal is what you make it.
And your normal is beautiful.
Be Blessed, Marti