Accepting I May Always Suffer From Anxiety
Since I was 10 years old, maybe even younger, I have dreamed of a life without anxiety, even before I knew it was anxiety I was suffering from.
This thing has consumed every part of my life, caused me to suffer from depression, lead me to find myself at rock bottom, too many times to count, and all before I was 23 years of age.
I wanted it gone. I’ve suffered so much I felt my life was no longer worth living. My life had been stripped of almost everything I have ever loved or enjoyed and I didn’t see a world in which living with anxiety was possible.
See I have always seen anxiety as the enemy and I have been trying to run away from it and avoid it for as long as I can remember with little success along the way. Now, I understand that we need anxiety it is a part of our makeup of a being human and has helped us survive as a species for hundreds of thousand years. A part of me has always understood this but I still wanted it gone nevertheless. Throughout all the places I have searched for help, I have always wanted it gone and thought this was the end goal. Medication sometimes made it easier but ultimately it wasn’t enough. I have never had a good therapist until now but again I was always waiting for somebody to tell me how to get rid of it and how to overcome this god awful disorder. When I had hypnotherapy, I thought the end goal too was for this to be gone and it didn’t go.
I have been searching for the wrong thing for so long, the wrong thing which isn’t even possible. I think deep down I knew it, I knew there was no cure that I so desperately wanted but I didn’t know how to get started to manage my condition. I was treading water however I didn’t know how to swim and even if I did know how to swim I couldn’t see land to swim towards. I was surviving but I didn’t know how and eventually I believed this was going to lead to me taking my own life.
With this mindset, I feel as though I may have missed a few things along the way. I’ve read stories of people living with a mental illness and always thought surely more can be done. Surely these people aren't happy and content at living their life with this thing that causes them to suffer so much. I was only looking at it through what I knew at the time, that I was suffering every day and in so much mental pain I didn’t see it getting any better than unless it was gone completely.
6 months ago in June of 2018, I started seeing a private therapist recommended to me by the private psychiatrist I was seeing. For the first time in the last 4/5 years of looking for help, I believe I finally have the right help. It took months to see any progress, through understanding the mind, talking and working through certain events in my life and making small changes in my day to day life. I had plenty of eye-opening moments and realisations but the biggest and the one the one I want to focus on today is that; I may always suffer from anxiety, my life may never be what I had planned for it but I can make a life worth living.
I may always suffer from anxiety, my life may never be what I had planned for it but I can make a life worth living.
I can’t predict the future but the reality is I probably will always suffer from anxiety. What I've had in mind for the life I wanted to live will probably be very different because of this suffering but I have already begun to make progress towards a happier more fulfilling life and what is to say I can't become happier and have an even more fulfilling life in the future even whilst suffering from anxiety.
The conversations with my therapist were never about life without anxiety. It was about living a life where I could manage my anxiety and still go about living a life worth living. She has shared and shares some of her struggles to this day with me and these stories began to break down this idea of a life without anxiety. It wasn’t an easy realisation, I talked it through with my therapist, I was sad and down because it seemed a sad reality to me because I couldn’t see a world where I could have anxiety and be happy and go about living my life outside of my bedroom. I left this session in particular and was firmly locked in my head going over the conversation and the realisation I had come to and was beating myself up and making myself more and more depressed. Rather than put myself through this any further I decided to get an early night. The next morning I woke up and felt so much lighter, I felt as if a massive weight had been taken off my shoulders. I was no longer depressed as I was the night before and in a weird way, I kind of felt free. It was if overnight everything had sunk in and I had accepted this reality. I was committed to continuous learning to manage this condition and everything we had been doing in therapy made a little bit more sense. A big part of me was still resisting the things I needed to start doing and that resistance had faded overnight.
Looking back over the years of seeing more professionals than I can count, I was always left under the impression I could overcome this and never live a life suffering from anxiety again and honestly that’s bullshit. What wasn’t communicated and should be possibly the most important thing to be communicated to anyone is that Mental Disorders aren’t CURABLE, they are MANAGEABLE. This is something that I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life but with the right treatment, I can live a very fulfilling life. It may not be the life I had planned out and I may still suffer and struggle from time to time but it won’t always be the way it is right now, it will get better and it does get better.
There’s a small part of me which wishes this realisation had happened sooner. There's a small part of me which wishes a lot of things happened sooner but if it had happened sooner I may not be in the same position getting the same level of help as I am now.
My life is moving in the right direction for the first time in what feels like forever. I can honestly say I am looking forward to the future now and fully committed to learning to manage my anxiety disorder and live the best life I can, taking it one day and one step at a time.