Today’s Guest Blogger is Matt Pappas from Surviving My Past. He writes eloquently from great experience and knowledge on the subject of anxiety. Visit his website where you will find a host of useful publications and other invaluable articles designed to assist you with your healing journey. Thank you, Matt for another great article.
If anxiety has its way, it will keep you from doing anything on your own behalf. It wants to keep you from reaching out for help, it wants to keep you isolated and alone, it wants you to catastrophize everything, and along with many other tricks, it always wants you to think that you can’t handle something.
Even a situation seemingly minor as going to the grocery store or making a decision about dinner can become a full-blown panic attack. If anxiety tries to rule us in those smaller things, imagine what it can do for bigger decisions. Buying a home or car, deciding to take a big trip, a new relationship decision, things like this are indeed important and deserve considerable thought to come to a healthy resolution.
However, there’s a fine line between giving a decision it’s just time in our heads and letting anxiety take over to point where you just end up forgetting about it completely because it’s too hard, and because you can’t handle it. That’s where it gets you; you just give up because the fear of failure is so great, or the possibility of something not going completely perfect is so loud in our minds that we’d rather just not try.
It’s easier that way, right? We save ourselves from suffering if we just don’t try. Hang on to that thought, we’ll come back to it.
We could go on and on talking about ways that anxiety tries to keep us from trying something or making a decision on our own behalf, but since this Surviving My Past, let’s look at it from the survivor perspective. How does it try to keep you from starting your healing journey?
It’s no secret that embarking on a healing journey can be intimidating. The fear of the unknown, the fear of advocating for ourselves, the fear of putting ourselves first, and of being vulnerable. All of these things can be used by anxiety to keep us from ever getting off the starting.
Let’s not minimize those feelings though, after all they are real. As survivors we were groomed to feel like we were nothing, we wouldn’t amount to anything, and we have no chance at a “normal” life. Our self-esteem was shot to hell before we ever even knew what self-esteem was. Confidence, self-respect, healthy boundaries, yep those may very well have been erased before they ever had a chance to form.
That’s what an abuser does, and that’s what the acts of abuse do. They take everything good, wholesome, and innocent in our lives and turn it into something twisted, backwards, and self-invalidating.
On top of all that, it wasn’t like someone was going to come rescue us. We were on our own, either because we had no one else or because those who should have been coming to rescue us were part of the abuse acts themselves. Talk about feeling hopeless and helpless!
With all of those things working against us, it’s no wonder that anxiety has a field day at our own expense when we start contemplating the thought of working through our past. Or if we’ve already started but have come up on a rough stretch, all of those past fears and invalidations come roaring back to try to make us quit.
- What if I fail?
- What if it’s too hard?
- What if I can’t handle it?
- What will my family think, my friends, children, or coworkers?
All of those questions get blown so far out of proportion and each takes on a mind of its own. Suddenly we’re so overwhelmed that we figure, “what’s the use, I can’t do it”!
That’s exactly what anxiety wants you to think. That’s what those who abused you want you to think. That’s what the abusive acts themselves want you to think, that you just simply aren’t worth the trouble.
The fact is, and yes friends it’s a fact…You Are Worth It.
You owe it to yourself to put YOU first and reach out for help. You owe it to the life you want, whatever that is for you, and to stop letting your past keep you stuck. To stop letting it keep you from reaching the goals you have; things that you’ve always dreamed about but never thought you could handle.
This mindset goes far beyond dreams of making millions of dollars, living in a mansion on the beach, and owning 5 cars. I’m talking about:
- Being able to wake up each day and embracing what’s ahead instead of fearing it.
- No longer being afraid to go out for a night on the town.
- Have the confidence to go back to school and get that degree, or apply for that new position at your job.
- Having the confidence to know that you survived the trauma of abuse, but you aren’t letting your past define your future.
If you listen to the lies that keep you from healing, anxiety uses that make you think that you are better off not trying so you avoid any potential suffering. The problem with that is, you are suffering now and it’s gotten you nowhere fast right?
Anxiety has no right to keep you from calling that therapist or coach, or to keep you from joining that support group or online chat. It has no right to keep you from taking back your life and no longer living in a mindset of self-defeat.
Is this your healing journey going to be easy?…No, of course not. Nothing in life worth having comes easy, especially when it pertains to doing something healthy for ourselves. It will be trying, frustrating, confusing, and bring up things that you have pushed aside for years, or even decades. You may encounter resistance from those who don’t understand, and question why you are putting yourself through all of this.
The thing to remember is, you are doing it for yourself Because You Are Worth It.
You will reap the benefits of that hard work, and in time begin to uncover a whole new You! A you that knows the value of yourself and the value of what it means to be a Survivor who isn’t letting their past rule their future any longer!