- What do you do if you feel stuck, helpless, hopeless, trapped, or in a crisis state?
- What happens when the help you get isn’t enough, isn’t good enough, or just isn’t available at that time?
- Why is treating anxiety often hit-and-miss? Why can’t they cure it?
Treating anxiety: Life is more than a 50-minute slot
What I do between therapy sessions is more important than anything I could achieve in an hour. Not that that isn’t important but I know if I’m going to stop anxiety it’s going to be mostly down to me. If the help isn’t helping, I can try to change that but the very first thing I look at is what’s going on inside:
- Where is my head?
- Why don’t I feel OK, or in control?
If anxiety takes the lead, I will not end up where I want to be. I will go on feeling like I can only ever achieve so much, and that the decisions about how well I can get, and how anxiety free I can remain, are not really mine to make.
When help doesn’t help, when I feel half-way to broken -when my mind’s busy telling me: maybe you’re a lost cause, you don’t know anything, maybe it’s none of your business to be trying to heal, let alone hope. In those times, an anxious mind is an intensely painful place. The last place you’d want to be, and mental health isn’t a particularly meaningful phrase, to me.
I have to force myself to remember the signs and symptoms of anxiety, and to see what’s happening to me. >>How bad is it, really? Because I know my mind isn’t broken. Anxiety is a state, and boy can it be quite a state, and what can I do about that?
Stop panic? First: beat fear over the head
No, seriously: Beating fear over the head with its own stick is, on occasion, absolutely the best thing I can do. Otherwise anxiety just pretends it’s on my side, fighting the good fight to keep me safe, and keep me from feeling too much. Ever.
I’m starting to think there’s no such thing as feeling too much. There is the amount of emotion I am willing and able to tolerate, at this point, at this moment. And that is all.
In fact, I want to feel “too much”. Because I suspect it isn’t too much. It is, of course, difficult to face the fears anxiety helps me avoid; Dodging bullets, yes, but it’s anxiety telling me they’re bullets. That my own feelings are going to hurt me, no matter what I do, or what decisions I make.
Mental illness: All I want is to get back on track
Which just isn’t true. When I write it out like that, clear as day, it can’t be true. If it were no one would ever get past anxiety, and as it happens I know that they can, and do.
Sensing that your life is your own, not judged, manipulated and manhandled by anxiety, takes a lot of time. A lot of time living with “stuck, imprisoned, trapped”, which is hard work, and the kind of help that helps treat anxiety right then isn’t huge. It probably looks pretty lazy, or crazy to anyone who isn’t treading this path with me.
The little steps a heart can take, where maybe a head can’t; Things that reach, and find me where I’m at: reminding me that freedom is a feeling, long before it’s fact.