I remember how nervous I was the first time I attended an anxiety support group. I had every excuse in the book why I shouldn’t attend. “I am too busy. It’s too much money. My anxiety isn’t that bad that I need to come to a support group. What can other anxiety sufferers teach me? The meeting is too late, too far away,” and so on.
Finally mustering up the courage to go to a group I realized that I didn’t have to suffer in silence, that I could join with others who understood and appreciated what I was going through. People who could support and encourage me to break my cycle of fear and avoidance and take a chance. Along the way, I made some new friends and learned valuable skills for healthy living.
That was the turning point in my struggle with anxiety, as I learned a lot about what was driving my fear and how to challenge my negative, distorted thinking while taking small, but life-changing, steps through practicing new behaviors. Along the way, I learned that while my anxiety was uncomfortable, miserable and treacherous, I would no longer allow myself to be defined by it. This bold step took me on a journey where I learned self-acceptance and self-compassion which allowed me to eventually not define myself, and consequently be ruled by, my anxiety. My anxiety became a signal, a call to action that things needed to change in my life. Through this process, I became emboldened to the point where my anxiety became more of a nuisance than a hindrance. I learned to eventually talk back to it, to challenge it, and challenge myself to take the fear out of it, which put me on the road to recovery.
I am living proof to attend a support group and seek the help of a mental health professional. I encourage you to challenge yourself to rise above your excuses for not reaching out for help, to attend a support group and / or therapist who can help you break free from your anxiety and live a happier and more meaningful life.
You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!