Throughout anxiety, I have been struggling with a large misconception about the way that recovery is viewed. I also have had problems with using unhealthy language to guage my “outings”.
In order to overcome my agoraphobia, it is extremely important to push myself and leave the house. My therapist and I have talked extensively about how to go about improving myself and my life. Let me be honest: leaving my house is not easy for me. When I try to go out places it is not always sunshine and glaring success. Therefore, in the eyes of my therapist, progress is not immediately fleeing from the situation I am feeling anxious in. Progress is working through the feelings, and practicing overcoming my anxiety.
However, I have an issue with that system. I have always been an “over-achiever”, and I get extremely impatient when a situation does not resolve as quickly as I would have wanted it to. While a year may not seem to be an extended period of time, when you are stuck in your house, or within ten minutes of your house, it becomes a very long time.
I always fall into a bad habit when I am working on myself, my mental health, and my thought processes. I will do a simple action like a trip to the grocery store, I will get anxious, try working through my feelings, become overwhelmed, and only end up buying a few items. As I leave the store, the only thought that pops into my head is failure.
I am a failure. Last year I was a flourishing college student, on track to be valedictorian of the class. I worked two jobs. I traveled. I lived life fully, and I loved the life I live. Now I am barely able to leave my apartment some days and cannot even go grocery shopping for my family without having to fight my mind. I should be counting down 11 days until my college graduation. Instead I am focusing on just keeping it together. I am fighting to get my old life back, and I am failing.
But then, I realize the awful things that I just said to myself. The filth I flung into my face after doing something that is honestly positive. Four months ago I would not have even stepped into a store. Progress is slow, but I am making progress. I am making progress because I am fighting.
I am putting maximum effort into every situation that I can. I am working on retraining my thoughts. I am trying to not be so afraid of the world. I am not a failure. I am a warrior. I am growing. I am becoming a better version of myself.
The past year may have been hard, and life may not be too great right now, but I am striving for excellence. Excellence does not come as easily as it did before, but boy will it taste sweet when I finally have the victory.
If you are struggling. If today is a day you cannot get out of bed. If you don’t take a shower, or eat enough food. If you break down and cry. If you snap at a love one out of frustration and fear. If you are putting your best foot forward and trying to grow because you will be damned if this illness beats you, you are not a failure. You are strong. You have amazing things in store for you. You deserve the world. And when you overcome this, it will taste sweet. Be patient, and treat yourself kindly. You are growing.