After the incident in late August/early September, I made the decision to start talking with a therapist again. If I was truly going to transform my whole self, I was going to have to get some assistance with understanding how to cope. I got several recommendations and proceeded to make an appointment. I felt immediately at ease with my therapist, even before I met her the first time. My first appointment was an absolute disaster - at least in my mind. I cried uncontrollably for most of the appointment and could not get my thoughts together at all. It was so frustrating that I could not tell her why I was there, why I was upset, why I was confused, and on and on.
I went to see her every week for almost two months. We spent a lot of time talking about my day-to-day activities, how I approach situations, etc. Through our talks, I really came to see how many things in my life were controlled by my anxiety. I always chalked up my behavior to being a perfectionist, type-A, control-freak - all of that is really anxiety in disguise. Each one hour session with my therapist helps me to understand why I get anxious and how to cope with the anxiety, without getting into a full-blown anxiety attack. At the recommendation of my therapist and in consultation with my doctor, I am also back on medication for my anxiety. While I hate the thought of being medicated, the thought of letting anxiety control me is worse.
I went to my therapist today and the entire session was devoted to talking about several recent situations that have caused me to have severe anxiety. After talking through the situations and understanding circumstances, she encouraged me to use my blog to gather more coping strategies.
Some of the ways I cope include:
- Take deep breaths. As silly as it sounds, the suggestion to "smell the cookies (deep breath) and blow out the candles (deep breath out)" really works.
- Be active. If I feel like I am having an "off" day, I make sure that I do some type of physical activity. It could be as simple as going for a walk around the block at work or going for a long run. Just move - it makes a difference.
- Let go of perfection. Perfection is an unattainable goal. No one has ever been or will ever be perfect. I work very hard every day to tell myself to let go of perfection - it is still a struggle, but one day I will let it go.
- Get support/Ask for help. I haven't talked to a lot of people about my anxiety, but those people that are closest to me or I know have their own anxiety issues have been a great resource for me. When I am in a situation where I am beginning to feel anxious, I let someone around me know that I need to change the environment/circumstances. It is a lot easier to just say what you need than to hold it all in. I have realized that it is ok to ask for help/make yourself vulnerable. Most people really are supportive and want nothing but the best for you.