At the time of writing this blog, I hope that everyone is keeping as well as they can be, and slowly working through their own issues.
In this blog post, I really want to talk to everyone about the utter importance of always keeping your hope while you are going through panic problems aswell as learning to and becoming aware that you should always work to move forwards and keep your end result in mind.
Lets first look at the importance of keeping your hope. I will write this from my own experience.
Suffering from, and coming through panic issues in any form is not an easy thing to do. Its incredibly uncomfortable, can destroy your ability to relax, take away your confidence to go anywhere, crush your ability to interact with others and serious affects your quality of life. It takes time for your body to heal and for things to return to normal levels and so as the days turn into weeks and the weeks to months it can seem like a hopeless journey with no end in sight.
I have been through four major bouts of Depression and Anxiety the final episode lasting a year, one thing I never lost though was my hope. Why?. Because without my hope I would have felt I had nothing left.
A therapist I spoke to many years ago really helped me to learn to keep my hope with an innocent comment he made to me during a therapy session when I delivered a statement. I said " I will never get over this, there is no hope for me, will this ever go away?"
His reply was "everything passes as nothing ever stays the same, life changes, jobs progress, people change, kids grow up, situations change etc".
I realised that even through this suffering I was learning to grow, change and adapt and that it could only be a good thing as its all worked to make me into the person that I am today.
It also provided me some hope that however bad I felt things were, they would pass over and I would become well again and I did.
The message here is even through your bad days, you should not loose your hope that things will improve and get better because with hope and work they will. I am certainly living proof of that.
The second point that really helped me to look forwards, which incidently was also a chance conversation with another person, was to always have the end goal in mind.
The end goal with panic problems should never be to completely remove any feeling of anxiety from your life as this is unrealisic . Its normal and expected to feel some anxiety in everyday life, such as before you attend a job interview maybe something like spending a day at a theme park and deciding go on the big rollercoasters!. What we actually want to remove is the unhelpful panic that is affecting you in normal situations where you should not be feeling panic. Situations such as when you are doing your shopping or maybe going for tea with a friend.
Setbacks and backward steps are part of the recovery from panic, its normal to be able to tackle a task that you were avoiding for three days sucessfully and then to fail on the forth as you maybe feel more anxious than usual. When this happens in recovery it can and does knock confidence in your ability to see things through. You felt on such a high that you were moving forwards and successfully beginning to overcome your issues only to suffer a knock and loose your hope when on the very next day you feel too anxious to do what you did previously.
In my experience this is what causes people to fall into setbacks and loose their ability to continue as they think whats the point, I was getting somewhere and now its come back again. But the thing is it hasn't come back! This is absolutely a normal part of panic recovery. I used to say to myself, one step forward and two back which was a good way of looking at things.
During my own recovery, I began to see the importance of never loosing site of that "end goal", which was to ultimately remove any unhelpful panic from my life and to give me back my quality of life, my smile and self confidence in being able to live again.
With that goal in mind, i began to shift my mindset so that everything I did every day held that end conclusion in mind. For example I became aware that I always had a choice with everything I did. I could choose whether I leave a situation if I felt panicky or if I allowed that panic to run away with me or not. So I began to review my choices each time I felt the panic come on. I asked myself questions " If I leave here, will that bring me closer to my end goal or take me further away?" , " If I leave I know my short term fear will go down but my long term fear will go up- am I really helping myself by leaving?"
By considering your choices carefully, you begin to become aware of the bigger picture and stop sweating the small stuff as much. This is really important in panic recovery. Its also important to have that end goal as it gives you a focus and something to work towards.
If you accept that recovery does not feel good in the short term, and be realistic about the work involved in achieving your end goal, and put steps in place to get there you will recover from your panic and will be then able to enter the maintenance phrase to stay well long into the future. It can be done however bad you feel. Im living proof of that.
I will blog again very soon,
Keep well and happy,