All I cared about was getting out of this anxious state and into an unanxious one.
I didn’t care about anything else. Nothing apart from my hobbies could hold my attention for long. I failed miserably at school in most subjects.
I just couldn’t concentrate and nothing else mattered to me because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.
This is common when people are experiencing severe anxiety on a daily basis. Most of their attention is focusing inwards on their anxiety whilst about twenty percent of it is actually focused on the external world.
This was definitely the case for me. It depends I guess because we are all different. I’ve spoken to some people who excelled at school even during intense anxiety.
I was, of course, sceptical upon hearing this and understandably so.
We all deal with anxiety in different ways and I guess that I just approached it in a way that made me very dysfunctional. I would get frustrated about how most of my attention was always on the anxiety and as a result, this bred more anxiety.
When I was in this mindset, nothing really worked for me
Even when I applied really good programs like The Linden Method and Panic Away, they were no way near as effective when I was obsessing over recovery.
All this obsession did was drain me mentally and emotionally. Funnily enough, when I let go of the concept of recovery and just did what I had to do to recover, it worked out very well for me.
It’s amazing how paradoxical life really is. It’s our instinctive reaction to obsess over something that sounds like heaven, but becoming too fixated on it just keeps us stuck in hell.
Why this obsession of anxiety recovery (escaping) is paradoxically putting more emphasis on our anxiety
It promotes the habit of constantly checking in
I remember reading Paul David’s book At Last a Life and Beyond where he talks about how giving up trying to recover was the turning point in his recovery. When I read that, I resonated with it instantly because this is exactly what helped me to recover.
Looking back now, I spent an absurd amount of time trying to break free from my anxiety. When I mean break free, I really mean it. This would include mentally trying to run away from every thought and sensation I would experience.
By doing this, I was telling my mind that these anxious thoughts and sensations were a problem and they needed to be dealt with. Pour old brain believes that we are about to be killed so it rings the alarms bells (activates more fear) to keep us safe
It creates resistance
When we can’t accept our current inner state, we are creating inner conflict. Before we learn or figure out that acceptance is the way forward, it’s almost guaranteed that we will fight this thing because it’s understandable to do so.
As a sufferer or ex sufferer reading this, you will know just how emotionally painful it is to experience. How hellish it is to feel this way on a daily basis, pretty much 24/7.
And, if you were anything like I was, getting frustrated and worked up about feeling anxious only intensified the anxiety.
We are already feeling awful and then, through our resistive reaction, we end up pouring more petrol onto the fire. It’s a vicious cycle, but thankfully, one that can definitely be broken.
It puts too much pressure on ourselves
Whilst it’s all good to be excited about the fact that you can recover (even if you’re currently sceptical), we can end up putting far too much unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
We might even begin to scowl ourselves when we don’t make as much progress as we expected to.
This all leads to frustration and more stress, obviously not conductive to the healing process.
The truth is, everyone recovers at different times. No one’s recovery will be the same as anyone else’s. Recovery can never be rushed. Recovery will happen in it’s own time, naturally. Putting pressure on ourselves to recover will only keep us stuck in the cycle of anxiety.
Anxiety and pressure are not a great combination, and never will be.
Letting go of the obsession of anxiety doesn’t mean you can’t and won’t recover
You don’t have to obsess over recovering from anxiety to actually recover. You just have to know it’s possible. Of course, having the desire to recover is imperative. It’s what kept me going after all.
However, constantly obsessing over the idea of recovery and getting too mentally attached to it only serves to create resistance with our current state and the present moment.
What to do instead
Drop this obsession. It will take some time to fully get out of that mindset because it’s become a habit to constantly fixate on recovering.
I recommend letting go of the obsession whilst following my recovery plan. https://selfempoweredlife.com/my-recovery-plan-for-overcoming-anxiety-and-panic-attacks/
I hope this post has opened your eyes to the possibility that spending too much time and energy obsessing and fixating on recovery doesn’t usually help.
Please let me know your thoughts. Feedback is greatly appreciated.
Until next time 🙂