How are you today?
I think we all conquer our fears in our own ways, especially since our fears are based on our own thoughts and experiences. I think to a certain extent we start fearing fear. And that becomes a vicious cycle. I think for me, I got over this in stages. I had long periods of wellness interspersed with relapses throughout my life. I started having anxiety and depression issues at a very young age. But I think we each relapse, I reevaluated things and sought help and got new tools, so each relapse became easier to overcome when it comes to anxiety. At the moment, my anxiety is pretty close to under control. I feel anxious mostly because I am dealing with a burn-out or depression at the moment. But I am learning to find tools to deal with this.
I think I made certain realizations along the way which made a profound change in me and how I felt.
1. I read "The Power of Now" from Eckhart Tolle. That book changed my life. In fact I intend to read it again. But it made me realize that I lived a lot in the past (this happened, why did I do that, Oh I looked like an idiot...) or in the future (what if this happiness, what if they don't like me...). The problem with that is I have no control in the past or the future, no power! My place of power is in the present.
2. I am not a victim, I am not a damsel in distress. I am the warrior, the knight in shining armor of my own story. People may help me, they may give me tools, the may help me, but in the end, I am the one who has the control, the power to slay the dragon so to speak.
3. My thoughts are not always rational or true. I can challenge them. I have control over what I think. (Thought challenging is so good!)
4. I read a book called " My stroke of insight" bill Jill Bolte Taylor . I learned that if my brain is a garden and my thoughts are flowers or weeds, I can be the gardener of my brain. I can choose which thoughts I want to buy into or not, which thoughts I challenge... I also learned that the initial physical reaction to an emotion lasts only 90 seconds (panic attack aside which lasts about 20 minutes if I remember correctly?) and that if the reaction lasts longer inside my body it is because I am maintaining it with my thoughts. So if I can not buy into a thought, I can not buy into and maintain a physical reaction to that thought! I think although panic last longer, that it applies to panic too. Once an attack occurs I can choose to maintain it or to ride it out.
5. I have learned to let go when it is time to let go, ride the wave of panic and just let go. As Eckhart Tolle says in "The power of Now": "If you resist, it persists". So I have learned to just accept my reality as it is and just let go and ride it out when necessary.
6. I have learned to fight when it is time to fight. I have learned to stand up for myself. I have learned to be persistent and fight to get better. I have learned that even if I fall I can get back up and win!
7. I have learned that fear only has as much power over me as I give it. I have learned it is ok to be scared. I have learned that panic only has as much power over me as I give it. Having a panic attack feels bad but it is not dangerous. It isn't. And if I have one it is just a bad moment in my day and I will ride it out and conquer it.
8. I have learned how to be moderately scared of something and do it anyway. I have learned to break down the stuff that really scare me and conquer them that way (exposure work really helps!).
Those are just a few of the many lessons I have learned along the way. Getting better is a journey. A journey of discovery and learning. I am stronger now despite everything. And I will get stronger still. And if I can do it, anyone can.
You have your own journey to discover. You have your own realizations to make. Follow the program, ask for help but mostly be kind and patient with yourself.