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The Importance of Knowing Your Limits

As many of you know, I recently began a new semester. During the first week, the Catholic group that I’m a part of had three events that I wanted to go to. The thing was, they were all sensory intensive, and one of them was late at night.

  • On Wednesday, my school’s Catholic group had our semester kickoff. We played board games, had a meal together, and prayed a rosary. Most of my friends are a part of this group, so it was great to see all of them again.
  • On Thursday, a nearby university had their weekly Mass and Meal. We share our priest with this university, so many people from my school go to their Mass and Meal, and vice versa. This event took a lot out of me. I had to navigate a very large, unfamiliar campus, and it was a late night (by my standards- I didn’t leave the event until 9:45 PM). Not only that, there was standing room only in the Catholic center, where we ate our meal. Crowds tend to trigger my anxiety and leave me feeling drained afterwards.

By the time I woke up on Friday, I was exhausted, drained, and worn-out. The next day was the Pro-Life memorial Mass and March for the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. A group from my school was going, and I had signed up to go. I knew I was not going to have it in me to go, even though I wanted to. Instead of forcing myself to go, I respected my limits and told the people in charge that I had changed my mind.

Today, I want to talk to you about knowing your limits.

By “knowing your limits”, I mean don’t push yourself too far beyond what you’re comfortable with. It’s important to push yourself little by little outside your comfort zone, but pushing yourself too much too soon can cause setbacks to your recovery.

In order to know your limits, you need to gauge how you feel in various situations. It’s important to learn your cues. For example:

  • If a situation is in your comfort zone, you will likely feel relaxed for most of the time you spend in the situation.
  • If a situation is far outside your comfort zone, you will likely feel a variety of negative emotions, like severe anxiety and agitation. These negative emotions are likely to escalate, and it may result in a panic attack.
  • If a situation is just outside of your comfort zone, you will likely be able to tolerate the situation for some time, and you may even feel relaxed. After a while, the situation may feel more uncomfortable, and you may feel the urge to leave.

Bear in mind that it takes practice and a lot of trial-and-error to discover your cues, and not everyone’s cues are the same.

Knowing your limits when you have an anxiety disorder is crucial to your recovery. If you push yourself too much too soon, it can harm your anxiety disorder recovery. By making small, incremental steps outside of your comfort zone, you can progress towards healing and recovery.

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