Having a fundamental shift in thinking can shift how you live with anxiety
There are times, for me, when the most difficult part of getting out of a situation is thinking that I'm okay and can just endure whatever it is to get through it. Going through anxiety made me realize that I did this (and sometimes still do, I am a work in progress). There was this self talk that I used to do. I'd say, I just need to finish this project at work and then I can implement change in diet, exercise routine, or whatever self-care that was really needed, but I ignored. I did this in my home life as well.
This is what anxiety was like for me, I was in it, but it seemed so huge I just didn't know how to get out of it and for the most part, I didn't really recognize what was going on. I just felt sick and exhausted. Actually, I felt trapped with this feeling of anxiety. I've seen with myself and also with my hypnotherapy clients that in the beginning, there is this belief that anxiety is a shitty part of your life and you just have to deal with it. I really believe that there are times where we become comfortable in our discomfort in life. So we accept it and just try to cope with it as best we can.
But coping is rarely the best way to deal with any situation regardless of whether it is anxiety related or not. At the time, I couldn't see that I didn't have to put up with any of this shit. So what has to change? You need to change the way you think about yourself, anxiety, and life. That seems daunting and unknowable, but it starts with a conscious decision that you WANT to and CAN take control back from anxiety. Without this decision or realization, everything you do will probably be a struggle because you are in that mindset that anxiety has control of you. I know from experience it can feel that it is in control Especially when you have physical reactions like heart palpitations and shortness of breath. This your mind fucking with you.
So how did I come to this realization? You can have headaches and migraines when anxiety is out of control. I was having severe migraines and other unrelated symptoms. I was seeing my doctor almost weekly. I'd been pushing her to help me find a solution because I was on pain medication and muscle relaxants that were so strong, I was rarely out of bed and I didn't want to live my life medicated I hate taking pharmaceuticals. A couple of times I was sent to emergency because of the migraine were so bad and my heart rate being abnormally low. Through this, in Canada you can get fast tracked to see a neurologist rather than waiting several months to get an appointment. So I was able to see a neurologist the following week. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the specialist I was supposed to see went on maternity leave and I got a doctor who was male and I'm sure in his seventies. This doctor didn't listen to anything I was saying to him. I felt unheard. He couldn't find anything wrong from the scans.
Him: “Oh, you just need a really good massage” (while waving his hand in front of my face).
Me: I've been going to massage, it isn't helping.
Him: “oh, then you should try physio”
Me: “It was prescribed, it didn't help” The only thing that has been helping is muscle relaxants and I don't want to take them”.
Him: “Well, I guess you just want to keep taking muscle relaxants then”
Me: “No, I don't want to take them, I want an alternate solution”
Him: “I'll write a letter to your doctor saying you should continue taking the relaxants.”
His tone was dismissive and I left that appointment frustrated and feeling discouraged. I had an appointment to see my doctor right after and I remember crying in her office. I remember tears were streaming down my face. I felt frustrated and lost. No one seemed to really know what was going on with my body. This had been going on for months with all kinds of tests. The tests that came back unusual didn't seem have a connection with the tests. There was still no diagnosis. I came home dejected. This was on a Friday. I went to sleep.
On Saturday morning, I woke up and I was so angry at the neurologist and the dismissive way he treated me. I realized no one was gonna be able to fix this but me. I decided that I didn't know how I was going to fix it, but I was going to change everything I possibly could in my life.
At this point, no one had realized (including myself) that it was anxiety and a wheat allergy I had just felt I was under a lot of stress with a bad boss and crappy colleagues. But it was this conscious decision where I decided enough is enough. I started self hypnosis and also saw a colleague for hypnotherapy, I tried different diets, I started bellydancing, I did cleanses. Lastly, I did research, as I started getting better, my doctor and I realized it was anxiety. By that time, I nearly had it all under control.
Conscious decision is where it all starts. Its not just saying I want to be better, it's taking control and figuring out what I needed to do in order to succeed. I think maybe because I wasn't diagnosed in the beginning, I didn't have that belief that medication and coping was the only path. Even if I did know though, I know it is still possible to change the way I think and react to situations in my life. That first step is making the decision to do so. If I say that I want it and not doing the work to get bit, I try to explore why I'm holding myself back. I'm mentioning this because recently I was not giving 100% to something I wanted. So I am exploring why Me asking myself what is holding me back usually lands with me saying I don't know. So instead, I ask, what am I benefiting from by not doing it? That kind of questioning is helpful for me because I'm looking for positives so I'm more likely to be honest with myself. That helps me identify the issues more easily so that I can do hypnosis, or EFT, or something else to overcome it.
I know that if I shift my thoughts, my life opens up exponentially.