I'd love to say that I've been conquering my every fear these days, super hero cape flying in the wind . . . but truth be told, I've taken to struggling with my anxiety lately & even feeding that sly little gorilla when no one is looking these past few weeks.
I know, struggling and resisting and avoiding (oh my!), make anxiety SO much worse.
So, when I start feeling like I've slid down that slippery slope & am looking at an uphill battle I do one of two things. Sometimes, I jump right into lots of exposure & it makes me feel worse at first & then so much better as I realize that I've been tricked by fear again. What we fear might happen - our worst what if's - never truly come to light. And, even the uncomfortable stuff, is still manageable.
My second route is to hide it, don't tell anyone & quietly freak out a little while going on with my life. Sure, I'm still showing up, but all the while hoping that anxiety stands me up. People with anxiety frequently have the super power of an amazing imagination & this can get us into trouble as we see and feel the terrible things we are SURE will come true.
After I've felt bad for a while, I start opening up and talking to people, and, slowly, it doesn't seem so terrible. Then it's time to do some more exposure work.
So, what a perfect opportunity to begin "Face it Fridays!" Every Friday I'm going to set an exposure goal for myself, write about it & hope that others will join me for the adventure!
Today I chose a driving exposure goal -- to drive downtown through harrowing interchanges, take a bridge-like exit onto the expressway & come out alive on the other side! This is not part of my daily driving life & I really don't like how this particular exit feels like a roller coaster. So, first thing after dropping my older children off at school, my toddler & I set off for adventure. I wore my cowgirl boots for added spunk & confidence. As I approached the exit, I did feel my heart beating faster & a rush of adrenaline. I remembered Dr. Wilson's advice of asking your anxiety to make your symptoms worse. "Come on anxiety, give me your best shot!"
The excitement was short lived - the exit was no big deal & I wasn't able to physically make myself more anxious. I called my husband to tell him the news.
Me: "Babe, so I just drove over the roller coaster exit & I lived to tell the story."
Him: "Seriously? You made it out alive?"
Me: "Yeah, and I know this may come as a surprise, but it was really no big deal at all."
Him: "Wow, that's shocking."
So, maybe my superhero cape was flying a little bit today and maybe, just maybe I'm really an adrenaline junkie at heart.
I'd love to hear about how you've been inviting your fears this week!