Sometimes, dealing with anxiety disorders is an absolute pain.
Depending on the severity and nature of your disorder, your anxiety can be so powerful and overwhelming that it makes you want to disappear. Maybe you have social anxiety and you perceive that people are judging you. Maybe you have PTSD and something triggered a flashback. Maybe you have a specific phobia and you’ve come face-to-face with your fear.
Whatever your disorder is, whatever the situation, anxiety disorders are a pain to deal with sometimes. Your disorder will feed you with all sorts of lies, like “no one cares about me,” “I’m a freak,” and “No one understands.” When you try to confront your anxiety and fight it, it fights back. It won’t back down without a fight.
Sometimes, it seems easier to let your anxiety control your life. It seems easier to give in to the disorder’s demands, instead of fighting back.
The thing is, you have to keep fighting, as hard and as painful as it is. In my experience, if you don’t fight back, your disorder will rob you of more and more of your life. You deserve to have control of your disorder, not the other way around.
Believe me, I know that it’s hard to fight back. I know what it’s like to be exhausted. I know what it feels like to have every ounce of strength and energy drained out of you. I know what it’s like to have no idea how I’m going to make it through the next hour, never mind the next day.
Still, I found the energy and strength to fight back.
Since I’ve fought back my disorder, I’ve done things that I didn’t think I would ever be able to do. For example:
- I’ve gotten my driver’s license.
- I’ve thrown several parties and invited my friends over.
- I graduated high school.
- I got my Associate’s Degree.
- I’m close to graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English.
- I moved out and lived away from home while I was at school.
- I started this blog.
- I keep track of my own appointments and prescriptions.
- I’ve volunteered at the church I attend during the school year.
- I’ve gone to dances, both in high school and college.
- I sang in a prestigious children’s choir.
- I’ve talked on the phone to strangers.
And this is just what I can think of off the top of my head!
Here are the strategies that I used to help fight back:
- I got help. I knew I couldn’t fight back by myself; I needed help. My parents found me a therapist who helped me to find ways to cope with my anxiety.
- I found, and utilized, coping strategies. For me, my strategies include reading, knitting, exercising, blogging, hanging out with my friends, going to therapy, and singing. It took some trial-and-error, but eventually, I found the strategies that work for me. It’s also a good idea to find multiple strategies that work for you. That way, if one of your strategies doesn’t work, you can use another one.
- I nurtured my spiritual life. Practicing my Roman Catholic faith has helped (and has continued to help) me to control my anxiety. Going to Mass and events at church not only nurtures my relationship with God, but it gets me out of the house and interacting with other people. My prayer life has also helped me to cope with my disorder, as well as celebrate the good times.
Remember: you can fight back! You don’t have to be a victim. It won’t be an easy fight, and there are times where you will want to give up. Just remember that you deserve to be happy. You deserve to be able to go out in the world and live out your dreams.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for help; talk to a therapist or other mental health professional. Don’t feel like you have to fight these battles by yourself.