Since I can remember I have always felt nervous and uncomfortable. As a young child, my mom would have to hold me and calm me down because I would have sudden panic attacks. I started to develop social anxiety in high school. The first panic attack I can remember was when I was 16. The teacher asked me to give a speech in front of the class and when it was my turn I rushed out of the room and left school, leaving all of my belongings.
I spent the next decade avoiding social interactions and situations in which I felt like I was being scrutinized. I developed a nasty addiction to alcohol, had no close relationships and felt like a complete waste of life. Simply, I felt “crazy”.
After finally getting clean in 2011 I remembered why I started drinking in the first place. ANXIETY. Drinking was my way of coping with my intense fear and nervousness. After after a little over a year of being sober and thinking I could just “deal” with the anxiety I finally realized that I was going to need outside help, just like I needed outside help to get sober. That’s when I came across the meetup and got connected with Craig Marker and Viktoriya Abramova. Their approach to treatment for anxiety was nothing like I had ever had or hear of. It was all about attacking the problem straight on in real life situations. Bringing the fear and anxiety to its highest level, experiencing it, and then working through it. Literally putting me in the situations where I felt the most uncomfortable and making me face my fears. At first I was terrified but they methodically introduced these situations in doses that were appropriate for me and intensified them with each session. In a short amount of time I was doing things that I only dreamed of doing. Experiences as big as giving speeches and doing karaoke (yes, in front of actual people), and small things as simply sparking conversations with strangers.
I always thought of myself as pretty intelligent but who knew that all it would take to get better is simply making a decision to and doing whatever it takes to achieve it! I trusted the process and its the best decision I’ve made. This has truly saved my life because now I finally feel like I’m living one.
Whatever type of anxiety you have or what has transpired because of it please don’t feel like there’s no hope. I’m telling you from experience there is a solution. Find the courage within you (yes it does exist in ALL of us) to challenge your way of thinking. Nothing changes if nothing changes. It’s all about “Progress not perfection.”