When you have anxiety it’s normal to be fearful about starting therapy. It’s almost like you’re used to being in fight or flight and it’s become a way of life. In a funny way therapy is a threat to your “normal.” You may learn tools to help you with your anxiety but then you start to wonder “who am I without this anxiety?”
I know because I have been there. I’ve lived with anxiety for the majority of my life. I can remember it as early as childhood but more clearly as a teenager. I was so used to being anxious that anything different from that seemed foreign and strange.
I felt comfortable in being uncomfortable. Anxiety was something I could count on, it showed up every day, it gave me racing heart and sweaty palms, hot flashes, and made me vomit every day before school.
I knew what physiological symptoms anxiety would share with me. In fact anxiety was very generous with the things that it gave me. Anxiety loves to share its wealth with the person it is inhabiting. I feel like that sometimes, like I am the host and anxiety is the parasite. It is an ungrateful beast, that anxiety and it makes me angry.
I became accustomed to the way that anxiety made a home in my body that when I began thinking about seeking treatment it scared me. Isn’t that strange? There was something out there that could help me and I was terrified of it. It took a lot for me to push through that fear and actually get help. I was afraid of change, even though change was the thing that was going to save me.
Getting help looks different for every person who has mental health issues. But the most important thing is that if you are struggling with your mental health you actively seek help. Whether that means finding a therapist in your hometown, or finding the best online therapy out there, the crucial thing is to get that help you need.
Despite being anxious to seek help, it’s important that you fight through that and do get the help you need. I can remember being terrified of not getting better.
Recently, I went through a bought of anxiety and I sat in my psychiatric nurse’s office saying that I was terrified that I wasn’t going to get better. She told me that she had hope for me. That hope carried me through a hard time. I didn’t know if she had any ground to stand on, I trusted her and I believed that she was able to help me when I couldn’t help myself. But, the first step to helping myself was actually going to find a clinician TO help me.
Anxiety doesn’t have to prevent you from getting better, even though it’s got a loud obnoxious voice that’s extremely convincing. Ultimately, you have the ability to override that voice. It’ll be there trying to tell you that you will be anxious for the rest of eternity, but it’s simply not true. Remind yourself that there’s help out there and clinicians who care.
Originally published on huffpost.com
Previously published on Goodmenproject.com