Monday, March 22, 2010

My Thoughts on "Recovering" from Social Anxiety

Everyone reading this is probably looking for a way to be cured from anxiety. I have found that when I focus on words such as "cure" and "recovery," it tends to lead to disappointments. If I am doing really well, I may feel that I am close to recovery. Then if I get hit with a setback, I am really upset because I thought I was doing better.

Instead, I focus on finding the hidden lessons within the setback and use it to move forward. My philosophy is to treat anxiety as if you may have it the rest of your life. If you do this, you can learn ways to reduce and manage the anxiety symptoms so that you can still live a happy fulfilling life.

In this anxiety video that I made for The Nitty Gritty of Anxiety, I go into more detail on my philosophy of managing symptoms of social anxiety vs. recovering from anxiety or curing anxiety.

What are your thoughts about setbacks and recovering from anxiety? Do you think you can fully recover from anxiety or do you think it's something to plan on living with as best as possible?



Unknown said...

Hi Aimee

I was sad listening to your video

I used to suffer with intense anxiety and most days were just about surviving for me

Today however things are different
and the anxiety is gone

I have written a short book about what I have learned and used.

I would love to share it with you or your readers

its short practicle and powerful



Ali said...

Thanks so much for the tips. I wasn't sad at all from watching your video. Instead I saw the peace in your face as you have come to accept anxiety in your life. I am 30 years old and have a young 18 month old so I identify a lot with you. I have suffered with anxiety/panic attacks ever since college. I got my first while driving on the highway. I also have bad heart palpitations that often trigger panic. I have also come to the conclusion that there is no cure. Yes, there are ways to manage it but I will always live with this. I also see it as a roller coaster. I will have my highs but I can still dip down low at times. Right now I'm a very healthy place with the right medication, foods, exercise, etc. But I know if I'm going to enter an anxiety provoking situation that I need to be prepared. And yes, isn't it ironic that it's often at times of relaxation such as a vacation that anxiety returns. Our bodies/minds don't like change even if it's a good one. I've found that concentrating on deep breathing weeks beforehand really helps. Thanks for your message and I'm so glad I found your website.

Meredith said...

Hi Amy. This was a very helpful post for me. I think one of my biggest problems it accepting "setbacks". I also thought I was "cured" after being anxiety free for about 4 years. My anxiety came back in October and I was so upset because I thought it was gone forever. I think it is so important to remember to be prepared like you said, and know that we can be happy and manage our anxiety also. Your blog has been so helpful to me during this "setback." We are both about the same age and have little ones and some of the same interests as well! It is nice to know someone else understands how difficult living with anxiety can be. My next big challenge is to feel comfortable "sharing" about my situation to friends. Thanks, and keep posting! : )

Aimée said...

Thank you for your comments. I don't feel anyone should be sad for me watching this video. I am not resigning myself to a life of misery, rather I feel I am being practical and still hopeful. I live a very happy and fulfilling life, even with my anxiety. And no offense John, but usually the only people that I hear of that are "cured" are usually trying to sell me something.

I don't feel that everyone needs to feel this way, I have just found this mindset to work better for me.

Ali thank you so much for your comment and tips on what helps you with your anxiety.

Best of luck Meredith with opening up to your friends. I appreciate your words of encouragement.

LindsC said...

Thank you for your words. My name is Lindsay and I also suffer from Anxiety I have been learning a lot about how to deal with it more recently in my life and I do think that you are right about not ever being cured or I would also like to say perfect in it. I believe it's when we learn that we are always going to have to work at it is when we will be getting closer to being perfect at it. I have to work at it everyday and I believe it's when we stop working at it is when we have lost hope and get worse. Thanks for your message and your blog. This is a great thing you are doing. It's hard to be honest about this and I'm learning to be more honest about it.

Anxiety Girl said...

Hi Aimee,

I really like the video messages - so personal, like we're sitting down talking about anxiety over coffee. Thanks for putting those up on your blog & keep up the good work!

Take care, Kristin :)

Wolf Gurl said...

Hi Aimee,

Thank you for that video. I suffer from depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I thought I had it under control this November. At the same time, I had to get off my medication b/c of unbearable side-effects. I had been taking it for 5 years, tried to get off it 2x and couldn't. This time, I was fine for a month and then the symptoms came back. Now I am going through a very tough time, so your kind of thinking about accepting setbacks is very helpful. I actually started my own blog a little while ago. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aimee!

Thank you for your site and your words. It does help me, a lot, to know that others experience the same thing I do, because I originally, before I really knew what was 'wrong' with me, thought I was alone. I'm very much like Ali above--I'm 31, had anxiety since 20s, can't drive due to anxiety and also don't usually fly. I don't take medication, which is a personal choice I've made, and I know that I'll always have some degree of anxiety/panic attacks. Looking back, I realize I've had anxiety since I was very young, and it's just shown its face differently over time. I don't feel hopeless, though; I know I will manage it always, somehow. Sometimes better than others.

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