Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 30!!

I started at the beginning of the month with a goal that felt challenging: plan and follow through with at least one exposure practice daily, for 30 days. My anxiety has kicked into high gear this Fall/Winter and I was feeling like something needed to change. That old fear of fear was traveling from one space in my life to the next looking for open real estate, and I was buying with my avoidance.

Overall, I feel like the month went really well. I scheduled daily practices and looked for opportunities to get anxious on purpose. Highways, bridges, public speaking, social situations and free floating anxiety have been my biggest areas of work. I’ve done plenty of exposure work before, but this time I’ve been feeling a bigger shift in my attitude toward anxiety.

It’s not happening all the time. But, more and more I’ve been able to think and believe, “I want this”, “I’m willing” and “I can handle this”. I’m also working hard on being patient with the passage of time. Even tonight, as I was feeling some waves of anticipatory anxiety, it finally kicked in that I might always deal with this issue. I can’t control these genes of mine, but I can control how I respond when they show up.

I also realize that I've got more work to do. There are still areas where I feel the strong urge to resist and fight the anxiety as it’s coming on. So, I’m setting more goals to include: more exposure work/living an “exposure lifestyle”, improving my self care (sleep, exercise, relaxation and meditation) and finding ways to celebrate each success. I’ve also been talking to my doctor about medication on a short term, as needed basis for those areas I’m still feeling stuck. I don’t love taking meds, but I’m trying to be open minded to all available resources (more on that in a later post).

So, cheers to a month of taking on anxiety! I'd love to hear how you all are doing and how your personal challenges have been going. Let's keep our brains in training as we work toward living a big life, anxiety or not.


Meredith said...

You had a great month! You should really be so proud of yourself. : )

Dan @ Anxiety Support Network said...

Good work...I believe that all people who try have good things happen to them in the end, even if there are struggles in the meantime. I also like your perspective on medication: short-term and only in certain very difficult situations. That recipe worked well for me too. Hang in there and continue the blogging - you really know what you're talking about!

Anxiety Girl said...

Thanks Meredith!!

Hi Dan, Thanks for the kind words. It's always nice to hear from someone who is working through anxiety, too! I just jumped over to look at your blog & it looks great.

Sarah said...

You are amazing, amazing, amazing. Much love.

Anxiety Girl said...

Back at you, girl! :)

Aimée said...

You are awesome! Good for you for setting out with a goal and accomplishing it! I bet you have learned so much about yourself. Thanks for being so inspirational!

Anxiety Girl said...

Thanks Aimee! It was a good month of learning - as you know, I think it's life long learning - but, a good jump start after being in a really anxious cycle.

Paul @ said...

Wow great post. What your doing here gets at the heart of stopping anxiety... and that's facing it squarely. Since starting your exposure blitz have you've felt better overall?

I think exposure is one of the main ingredients to making a real change in your life.

I've seen lots of people with anxiety turn away from this approach because it's hard and uncomfortable, but I think all significant change is hard to come by. Great work.

Anxiety Girl said...

Thanks Paul! "All significant change is hard to come by" -- I totally agree and I understand why many people don't want to do it. Heck, I don't want to do it many days and choose to take breaks. :)

After the 30 days, I feel like I'm further down the path, tackling it more frequently and more able to shift to an attitude of "I'm willing to show up" and "I can handle this". In some ways, I also felt more free floating anxiety over the month because my nerves were so sensitized from doing daily exposure & all the accompanying adrenaline.

So, I'm still on the path -- still working on getting to the point where I really accept whatever comes up. I remember reading that Claire Weekes still experienced rushes of anxiety and panic throughout her life, but got to the point where she said, "Yeah, but so what?" That's my goal!