I can go into public places without fearing something will happen to my children or me. This is tremendous progress. Yesterday I went into a clothing store alone.
I thought about leaving when the checkout line was long, but I was determined to stay and see the process through. Lines make me feel trapped, though it’s gotten better, the feeling is still there. Instead of leaving, I circled the store and waited for the line to go down. I had a goal and goddammit I was going to stick with it. I didn’t turn away from the end result, which was to buy what I had in my hand: four shirts and one pair of shorts.
My head didn’t rush, my heart didn’t beat out of my chest, my vision stayed normal, the panic stayed away. A year ago, I never would have been able to do this. And there were times I didn’t think I would ever be able to. Strings attached to me everywhere, by personal choice. This day, however, I was fine.
In fact, I’d had a lot of fine days. It had been going so well that I considered stopping my therapy sessions altogether. Isn’t that what we do though? Once we feel good, we back off of what’s been supporting us. I think it’s human nature to do so, sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.
When I left my therapist and told I’d let her know in a month if I needed to come back, I thought I’d walk away for good. Then thirty days slid by painfully slow. I missed my chance to vent and let my words fly without shame.
Sometimes big news came from small conversations. A day I had nothing to discuss would lead to a significant discovery. The chance for this would be gone if I didn’t continue.
I went back after thirty days, and I told her I missed coming here, so we agreed to every 3-4 weeks depending on my schedule. I’ve held this now for a few months and here’s what I’ve learned.
- I have new goals to push toward.
- I can truly recognize how far I’ve come and the life I’ve taken back.
- There’s a comfort to having a familiar, someone I know will listen.
- It has given me a chance to explore areas I didn’t realize needed attention.
Therapy is one of the things that I have done to regain my life. I am stronger now, I’m not sure I’ll ever be “healed,” but I can do almost everything I used to before anxiety crippled my life.
Sometimes I hear people smugly suggest that therapy isn’t working if you have to keep going. Well, who are they to tout about something they don’t understand. I’m not doing myself any harm by continuing, in fact, it pushes me to take control and prepare myself for harder days that are unquestionably in my future. Life can’t be full of rainbows and sunshine all the time.
Therapy has been one of the many factors I use to battle/overcome/work with anxiety. It took several tries to find a therapist I trust, so if you find one that’s not fitting you, don’t be scared to try again. For me, it has worked to have continual checkups. I have no plan on stopping, even if I decide to decrease to once every other month, a therapist on hand provides me with the outlet I need.
Melisa Peterson Lewis is a lifestyle blogger at Fingers to Sky where she writes about her personal wellbeing, gardening, and her writing process as she tackles her first sci-fi novel. Check her out on Instagram or Facebook.
Images from Pixabay.
Always keep fighting!