I usually try to look for the best in most things, be it people or situations, in order to get the best out of it. And it’s no different for me when comes to my anxiety disorder. It’s very easy to look for the bad in people, or the negatives in a situation, and too easy to feel like a victim when it comes to your anxiety disorder. And why shouldn’t I? It’s awful. It restricts me, it takes away my freedom, it’s cost me friends and I feel like I’m fighting every day. Why shouldn’t I play the victim?
Well, after recently conquering one of my ‘biggies’, it made me sit and realise how important my freedom is to me. For my whole life I’ve had freedom, done what I wanted and had confidence to do it, and the sad thing is how much I took this freedom for granted.
If I was to look for a positive in anxiety, it’s very difficult to find one through all the negatives, but along the journey I’m discovering little positives that I often try to share via here or Twitter.
Well today, I feel elated to have found a big positive that I take away from my anxiety journey. I never thought I’d find one in the darkness that is this absolute ball ache of an illness, but I found it.
I was always very outdoors, busy, free to do as I pleased and enjoyed mingling and socialising, it’s what made me who I was at the time. However, I never appreciated the ability to do this. I took everything for granted. My job, my career success, my confidence, my friends, my family, everything. It was just ‘how I was’ or ‘what I’d got’. I never realised how much hard work it was to maintain that life, that person. I took everything for granted, until it was taken away.
Now I appreciate the ability to go to the shop, to visit the park, to drive to work. I’m so grateful I can go out for meals, go out on my bike or visit friends. None of it is ever easy, I still fight every day to keep myself connected to the old me and maintain this freedom I’m so desperate to get back.
So as I rode through the trees this morning completely on my own, knowing the end of the trail was in sight, I was able to say to myself ‘I’m so proud to be able to do this’. I was so happy to be outside, so grateful not to be constantly thinking ‘how far is my car, where can I go if I have a panic attack, is there somewhere to go if I faint’. I appreciated every moment of it, knowing that next week, I’m blessed enough to be able to do it all again.
I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to do this forever. I may relapse, something else may plague me, but for now, I’m happy to do it all, I get to go outside, see friends, and be a tiny piece of the old me.
And it feels amazing.