Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be. Henry David Thoreau
Through the three plus years that I struggled with chronic anxiety, I believed what Thoreau said.
My thoughts helped me carve my route out of a life ruled by chronic anxiety.
The journey was one that forced me to confront childhood trauma, other aspects of my life that didn’t serve me, and forced me to rethink my intended career.
Overcoming anxiety is a goal that focuses your thoughts and actions.
It forces you to make changes.
It requires you to grow in unexpected ways.
It takes you on a journey with an unknown destination, but one that will allow you to put all you’ve learned to good use.
You just need to be prepared for the challenges that still await you.
Some of What Challenged You Before Anxiety Will Challenge You in Recovery
My road to being hit along side the head, knocked down, and kicked to the curb by chronic anxiety was one that had had its successes.
Failures too, but it was the successes that highlighted something peculiar in my mental makeup.
Even the biggest successes I achieved never made me feel successful.
That’s because my inner child had learned that “success” was not under my control.
My uncle’s attempts to teach me to ride my two-wheeler resulted in him throwing the bike to the ground in frustration and angrily stomping into the house.
I did teach myself how to ride the bike, but no one in the family congratulated me. That’s because they were supposed to be in control of what I did and how successfully I did it.
Being in control was of paramount importance to them.
Behavior that was considered successful by one person, could turn into a scolding by another family member with more power.
If the wrong person was in a bad mood on one day, then all of your successes from the day before couldn’t be repeated if your life depended on it.
If what you wanted was not what they thought was appropriate, then they’d make sure it didn’t happen.
Anxiety Can Teach You Only So Much
Working my through my chronic anxiety had the added benefit of enabling me to fill in the gaps where childhood experiences that would have given me confidence in my abilities had been taken over and managed by an adult.
Try imagining what it’s like to be a grown woman learning to learn and respond as a child would by letting your curiosity and joy out of the box it was forced into.
As awkward as they were sometimes, those experiences were helpful in building up a suitable foundation for my self-esteem.
Yet, even with those successes, I still had a huge challenge left to face.
I’ve never created something huge for myself. All the successes I created in corporate America were envisioned by someone else. It was my job to make them happen, and I was very good at doing that.
When I started this website, it was with the intent of making it an authority site with resources that could immediately help people deal with their anxiety.
Yet I know it needs more, but I’m not sure exactly what to do with it. I have an inkling, and I’m willing to try and figure it out.
In fact, that’s what I’ve been doing with the new self-help guide I’m creating. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before, and nothing like I’ve seen done by other people either.
But it feels right, and fingers are crossed. (If you want to get a free preview of it, click here.)
So that’s the first part of the challenge.
The second part is my new business Cat-titude Coffee Cups (soon to include clothing and jewelry.) Though I’ve not yet sold anything, this has been very satisfying from a creative standpoint.
Years ago – I studied graphic design. Back then, you had to know how to draw very well, and I just couldn’t keep up with the art classes.
Now though everything is different, and that is the third part of this challenge.
Learning the technology and figuring out what I want to design above and beyond the items I’m doing for Cat-titude.
The Biggest Part of the Challenge
With outsmarting my anxiety, the goal was clear. With every success I had – and I had small successes practically every day – progress was noticeable.
Techniques could be tested quickly and easily. From that standpoint it was pretty straight forward.
Now though, figuring out what actions to take is tougher.
That’s because I’m recovery and not the same person I was when plagued by my anxiety. That difference is apparent to me when I look around my house and realize that a lot of the stuff I have is almost alien to me now.
Fortunately, my intuitive sense is still intact.
This morning I took the opportunity to go through my books and ferret out which ones had something beneficial to say to me.
I admit being surprised at the similarities in what kept coming up, and very grateful at the amount that came up as well.
That reassured me that I’m on the right track and clued me into the actions I need to be taking.
In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check out the Strengthenng Your Intuition technique. It’s one that I’ve been using for years.
As Deepak Chopra says in The Book of Secrets (Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life),
“Physical laws operate efficiently, with least effort. At any given moment, the universe is giving you the best results possible.”
What Does My Story Have to Do With Your Anxiety?
Though there was a lot of information that resonated with me this morning, the one that prompted this post was a book by marketing maven Dan Kennedy.
In it is a call-out by Jim Camp, America’s #1 Negotiating Coach and author of Start With No, he talks about behavioral goals.
What are behavioral goals?
The example he uses is golf: “Instead of trying to break par, a result we cannot control, we concentrate on putting a good swing on the ball, an action we can control.”
As evidenced by the tips and techniques, those are the types of behavioral actions that you can control.
You cannot always control your anxiety. However, if you focus on making small change with techniques such as Loving Kindness, Make a Space, Make an Appointment or any of the other ones, you’ll give yourself a better chance at doing so.
My recovery from severe, chronic anxiety began on the day I made the Loving Kindness mantra for myself.
I keep my recovery going not only with my mantra, but with many of the other techniques as well.
As soon as you start using one technique, you’re taking an action that’s under your control and not under the control of your anxiety.
It’s the simplest and best way to start your recovery.
I have to take new actions to move forward in creating a livelihood for myself so my recovery can continue.
You need to take actions that will put you on the road to recovery and keep you moving along it.
Every day you take an action that you control is a day that you’re successfully taking back control from anxiety.