Stop Suffering from Anxiety for Longer Than You Have To
Suffering from anxiety is hard. With all of life's challenges, it can be difficult not to let anxiety mold itself into an ever-looming monster in one's mind. I've had a habit of elongating my own suffering from anxiety with needless rumination, worrying, and dread. But why allow my anxiety to take away from all the other moments in my life?
Creating Unnecessary Suffering from Anxiety
I recently learned that I will be getting surgery that will make it extremely difficult to get around, and I will not be able to get back to a semi-normal active lifestyle for at least six months. The news was devastating to me as my active lifestyle plays a huge part in my mental health management.
Honestly, I sobbed after that phone call with my doctor. The timeline of recovery and the limitations on my mobility and independence were a lot to process. But I have known for over a year that this surgery was likely inevitable, and I have already lost so much precious time thinking about it. I have turned a six-month challenge into a year of dread, and the surgery hasn't even happened yet.
After a moment of allowing myself to grieve, I centered myself. I called a friend. I tuned into an audiobook. I mentally started listing all the things I could still do while having to stay in bed (reconnect with friends, write, spend time with my cat, read, etc.).
I was able to reframe my mindset from "What will I be missing out on?" to "What are the opportunities I can focus on and the goals I can accomplish while healing my body?" The months of back-of-the-mind worrying had always focused on what I wouldn't be able to do and never what I would be able to do. This reframe helped me put the brakes on my spiraling dread.
A few hours after the doctor's news, I was able to say, "I understand that the months following the surgery may be difficult, but why ruin the months leading up to it by worrying? And after all, this will not be the end of the world."
I did not want to keep letting this future challenge with anxiety suffering be a current challenge as well.
Slaying Dragons that Aren't There
One of my close friends has repeatedly told me, "Don't fight dragons until they are there."
It's an incredible line that I refer back to often. It's easy to fall into the habit of trying to battle future fears and challenges. This is needlessly suffering from anxiety.
The practice of acceptance is an essential tool for me. I know I will face challenges. I know that by letting anxiety eat up my thoughts, I've lost out on opportunities to relish other moments. I know that until I meet a challenge head-on, there is nothing I can do except try my very best to enjoy the exact spot I am in.
It's not easy, but I've decided I no longer want to fight dragons until they are there; there are many more important ways to spend my time.
Jarvis, M. (2023, August 1). Stop Suffering from Anxiety for Longer Than You Have To, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2023/8/stop-suffering-from-anxiety-for-longer-than-you-have-to
Author: Michaela Jarvis
Inspiring. Thank you for sharing!! (: