In order to get your anxiety disorder under control, there are a few things that you need to come to terms with.
The first is that your anxiety will never be completely gone.
It will be a part of your life until the day you die.
Now before you click right out of this website…hear me out. I promise the news gets better.
I know the LAST thing you want to believe is that anxiety will never be gone from your life. I think that every person who has anxiety looks forward to the day when their anxiety just disappears……when it is no longer a part of their life and they can forget it ever existed and life will be great again.
But that isn’t the way it works.
And until you accept that, you will never have it under control. At least not REALLY under control. There are lots of people who live in denial and they may get lucky and find their symptoms waning from time to time. However, their symptoms will usually come back with a vengeance at some point when they least expect it, if they spend their life trying to pretend that they don’t have an anxiety disorder.
Again, I know that is not at all what you want to hear. But it’s the truth. Your anxiety is a part of you. It comes from you. It IS you, and it is best if you start thinking of you and your anxiety as a package deal from now on.
You just need to work on making that package a whole lot smaller and easier to carry.
The GOOD NEWS is that just because anxiety will be a part of your life from now on, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good relationship with it.
You and your anxiety can co-exist quite peacefully. You can actually train your anxiety to only appear when it is NEEDED, as opposed to it being a constant, nagging presence in your life.
Which brings me to the second thing that you need to come to terms with…
Not only do you need to accept anxiety as a permanent part of your life….but you need to decide right here and now that anxiety is your friend. You need to stop looking at anxiety as your enemy, and start looking at it as one of the best things that has ever happened to you.
Instead of feeling cursed that anxiety is part of your life, think of your anxiety as a blessing and a gift.
As long as you continue to fight it and “wage war” against it, you will never be able to control it. The more you fight it, the longer it will stick around. The more you fight it, the more it thinks you need it to stay.
I know it seems impossible to think of your anxiety as a gift.
How can you love something that makes you feel sick inside? How can you befriend something that you hate with every fiber of your being? How can you be grateful for something that has taken you from your job or robbed you of happy times with your children or your spouse? How can you be glad for something that plays mental mind games with you and makes you feel like you are going crazy?
I will tell you how.
The way to do that is to understand that anxiety is not causing all of these problems in your life. Your stress and negative thinking patterns have been causing them. You have been blaming anxiety all this time, when the truth is that your anxiety is not responsible for what your life has become. Anxiety is the result of what your life has become.
Look at the graphic below. My success in treating my anxiety disorder began when I stopped looking at the yellow arrow as the beginning of the cycle, and started looking at it as the end.
Your anxiety hasn’t been hurting you. It has been trying to HELP you. It has been trying to wake you up…to get your attention…to make you STOP what you are doing and start doing things differently. But you aren’t listening. And until your anxiety feels like you ARE listening…..its not going to leave. It has a job to do, and it won’t stop until the job is done
You and anxiety are on the same team. You both want the same thing. You both want you to be safe, happy, and at peace. But right now, unbeknownst to you, your anxiety is the only one fighting for that.
Make the decision now to partner up with anxiety to fight the real enemy, which is your worry and negative thinking, your constant stress, and your very low opinion of your ability to handle a crisis.
THAT is what you need to wage war against. THAT is what you need to “beat” and “destroy” and banish from your life
You think that you worry because you have an anxiety disorder. When the truth is that you have an anxiety disorder because you worry and think negatively.
You have been looking at it backwards all this time.
I will get more into this in later pages and I will try to make sense of it for you. Just know that once I finally figured all of this out…once I switched my thinking around and realized why my anxiety disorder was there and how I basically ordered it up on a silver platter with my constant, negative internal dialogue, THAT is when my life started to change.
It was like the world’s greatest, evolving “light bulb” moment and it all just became so clear. And not only did this revelation start me on the path to getting my life back, but that is when I started becoming grateful and thankful and even GLAD that I have an anxiety disorder.
Without my anxiety disorder, I would not be the person I am today.
Before my anxiety disorder erupted in my early twenties, I was a miserable person. Only I didn’t know it at the time. I worried all the time. I was always involved in some drama or another. I was under constant stress and I was SO pessimistic and scared of everything. And I will forever be grateful to my anxiety disorder for helping me do that. I am such a strong person now and so confident in who I am, and I owe most of that to my anxiety and the journey that it forced me to take.
Is anxiety gone from my life forever? No. It will always be a part of my life. But my anxiety is my helper. We are a team.
When my anxiety starts acting up again, and it always does,…….I listen.
I don’t ignore it. I look at my life, and if I look closely enough I can ALWAYS find the reason it is back. And then when my anxiety trusts that I have things under control again and that I have corrected the problems in my life….it goes away quietly and waits until I need it again. It’s a pretty good relationship we have now.
Okay, so maybe we aren’t exactly BFF’s. Maybe its a bit out of the realm of “reasonable” to think anybody could ever love their anxiety that much. But I learned a long time ago that my anxiety isn’t going anywhere, so I better learn to make nice with it. Once I did, it changed the whole game.
Let the information on this page process for a few days. Read it several times – until you get good and bored with it. Then visit my page on the fear/adrenaline cycle, to go a little deeper into the roots of anxiety.
If you would like some personalized help for your anxiety issues, please see my contact information here.
Hi Lisa, thanks for opening up to us about your experience with anxiety. I deal with anxiety too but not as serious as other people do (at least I think so). Still, I need techniques to calm me down when I get too anxious. That’s when I can see what you say as our anxiety is a signal for us to take a look at our lives and find out what’s missing …
Thanks for the comment April. Glad you stopped by.
I am so greatful for this blog! I am only on part 2 but it has just helped me genuinely smile for the first time in a while. I’m already starting to feel more calm. I can’t wait to read more!
I’m so glad Kayla, and your comment made me smile too.
This blog is amazing! Some of the best stuff I have read on anxiety! I have had anxiety since I was a kid. My mother taught me and raised me to be a nervous wreck about literally everything! I usually had panic attacks here and there. But about 7 years ago I found myself in my first anxiety cycle. My husband was going on a deployment, one son went off to college, the other moved out with his girlfriend, I was switching jobs. Lots of changes during one timeframe. It lasted a few months and finally moved on. I thought I was dying. I had panic and depersonalization. Talk about a freaky feeling! So its been quite a few years. Now I started up again as of January. I just moved long distance, changing jobs again, my daughter going off to college now, 2 of our family pets passed. Again alot of changes. But I do notice I get overwhelmed during a period where I am not working. Its like if my mind isn’t busy it gets easily overtaken! Both times it seemed to start while not working. Anyway, I have to make sure i eat because low blood sugar mimics panic too! Usually during an anxiety cycle you don’t have much of an appetite. Its very overwhelming to the mind so many changes. It launches you so far ahead that you think its over! So each day gets better, less and less panic. Trying to retrain my brain. Trying to take it day by day. My heart goes out to everyone of you suffering!
Hi Jennifer, great comment! I completely agree with you about the blood sugar issue. At some point when I get caught up I am going to do a post about it. But chicken breast is my Xanax. When I start getting that shaky, hollow, anxious feeling, I pull out some pre cooked chicken breast and it makes all the difference. Good for you for your wonderful attitude. You are going to get through this and I just got goosebumps when I wrote that so that is how I know its’ true. 😉
I am new to your blog. And WOW I love this post, it turns the usual model of thinking about anxiety up on it’s head. I have gone through a number of nasty anxiety/panic cycles now, and when I look back, I can see that it was always precipitated by a period of high stress and CHANGE. Usually an identity change (getting married, having a baby, new job, new stage of life, etc etc). I am going to make friends with “my” anxiety – it has always come up when I felt unsure about what was coming next for me. Need to noodle on this more (as we with analytical and sensitive brains need to do, lots of processing). Thanks for this post. I am now going to check out your other articles; I’m in another painful anxious period – what is my body trying to tell me? Sounds like I need to listen in beneath the anxious “noise” of symptoms.
Thanks Kathleen, great comment!
I like this concept very much X
Thanks GaydonRUG. I appreciate you stopping by my blog. I will be sure to stop by yours and see what its all about.