i will be free

Lately I’ve been trying to change my way of thinking and try to see the truth in things.  In my own personal attempt at recovery from anxiety, it’s so necessary that I change the way I think.

I’ve vaguely mentioned my struggles on my blog before but I really wanted to take the time to get into the subject a little more.  I know that there are other people out there going through the same thing and I figured that I might as well use the little voice I have on the internet and let those of you know that you’re not alone.  You are soooo not alone and I am here for you.

This is a really difficult subject for me to discuss without breaking down into tears. So please bear with me. I should mention that there are only a select handful of people that actually know about this, and some of them aren’t even family members. So this is kind of like a ‘spilling my secrets’ post in a way. I’ve become very good at hiding my problems. In fact, people that I’ve spilled my secret to in the past have said they had no idea because I am generally a happy, optimistic, determined person.

I think I need to better explain what I mean when I say “anxiety”.  I feel like most people do not understand what it’s like to have a constant nagging fear. I’m not talking about common worries like “I hope I meet that deadline”… in fact, I kind of despise when someone tells me they have “anxiety” when they clearly have no idea what someone with a true debilitating psychological issue goes through on a daily basis.  I do not expect them to understand though. You really cannot understand unless you’ve been through it yourself… and I think that the others out there who are like me would agree.

My anxiety is constant. I have good days and bad days, but it’s always around me. My anxiety means that I sometimes can’t do normal things without panicking. It means that I spend a good hour before I have to go out somewhere trying to calm my nerves.  It upsets my stomach and makes my palms sweat.  Leaving my house can sometimes be the scariest thing to me.  What I mean by scary is that my mind races, thinking that something isn’t right, and I start to panic.  If I’m driving, my mind is cluttered with thoughts of having a panic attack. When I arrive somewhere, I immediately check for doors and easy escape routes should I start to panic and need to get the hell out of there.  This should better explain why I was so afraid to go to the dentist also. Medical buildings and doctors are the worst kind of fear. I’ve missed important events and ones that I’ve really wanted to go to. Everywhere I go I need to prepare myself.

Office buildings and meetings with people? No way.  Restaurants? Nope. Both of these things mean waiting and being on someone else’s time. I do not do well with running on other people’s time that I have no control over. My constant train of thought goes something like this… “hurry up hurry up hurry up…”

I haven’t always been like this. I used to be lots of fun. My friends and I would be seen at concerts and band tours from here to the US. I would have a blast at bars and parties, not a care in the world. A few years ago, everything changed.  Living in a big city broke me. The anxiety snuck in.  I didn’t go out. I developed agoraphobia and isolated myself from friends and the world. When you’re stuck at home all the time, you have a lot of time to dedicate to a home business, that’s for sure.

Have you ever seen the show “Obsessed” when they have people with anxiety on there? Yeah, that’s pretty much my life.  I can see how it might be strange or even funny to some people, or how others seem to think they should just “get over it”, but like I said, you have no idea unless you’ve been in their shoes.

I don’t want you to feel weirded out or sorry for me or anything… that’s not what this is about.  I do have my “comfortable” people and places that I’m ok with, and I push myself to go to others that might be out of my comfort zone, even though it is tough to do.. so on the outside I do function like a normal person.  The result is always the same… nothing ever happens to me and I arrive home safely… usually telling myself that the experience totally wasn’t worth getting all riled up over.

It’s so silly, and I know this. I know that I am being ridiculous when I think panicky thoughts.  It’s trying to stop them that I’m still working on.

I am doing better. Since getting out of the city and living my life here I have improved. There is still a long way to go, but I will get there. I just have to change the way I think and realize that those thoughts aren’t actuality. I’ve seen myself improve this far, so I know I am capable.

I refuse to go to a doctor to get a band-aid medication, because I know that in the long run when the drugs wear off, the issue is still there. It’s in my mind and I take full responsibility for that. I know that I have the power to overcome it on my own, because it was in fact me who started it in the first place.  I am a true believer in will power and am dedicated to making this go away. It takes time, but it will go away.

I’ve been trying a new method lately thanks to an old friend who I reached out to.  She used to have the same issues back when we were in school together and I just couldn’t believe her transformation.  She gave me hope, and a tool towards helping myself be free.  When I’m through experimenting with it, I’ll share my progress once again.  I do not want pity, I just ask for support and understanding.  I know some of you may look at me a different way now, but I am still the same person you always knew. You just happen to know a bit of what’s inside of me now. A bit of what “blog land” never really exposes. In a way I suppose posting this is therapeutic, and if I am able to keep posting my progress, it might just help someone else and will all be worth it.

Your mind is a very powerful thing you know.  It can alter your perception of things, for the worse or the better. In my case, I’m just working on getting the better back in charge. Your mind has the power to make you see things in a totally different way.

Even though it appears to do so, the sun doesn’t move around the earth. The earth moves around the sun.

When I completely understand the reality of this, I will be free.

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By Dana Fox

Founder of the Wonder Forest blog and brand and bestselling author of the Watercolor With Me book series.

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