Anxiety and Loss of Confidence
By Paul David
When I was ill, my confidence plummeted. I felt as if I was worthless and had nothing interesting to say. I did not see the point to anything and felt as if I just existed. That is what anxiety does to you. It robs you of your personality, robs you of your confidence and robs you of your identity. My own experience caused me to feel as if my emotions and feelings had become frozen. Some people say they can't even feel love for the people they really care about and others don't feel any emotions at all. This is exactly how I felt. Nothing anyone could do or say could make me happy. They could have put a million pounds in front of me and I would not have even smiled. I felt numb and there were times when I thought I would never smile again. My only thought was recovering from the way I felt. I can tell those of you who feel like this that your emotions do come back in recovery. Your confidence and personality gradually return in little strips, building up in layers, until eventually you feel like the person you were before you became ill.
If you do suffer from a lack of confidence, then there is no better boost to your self-esteem than getting on the road to recovery and feeling the joy that comes with it. If you were a confident person before, that confidence will return or become even greater. I feel more confident now than I was before I became ill. All the hurdles I have passed and the experiences I have come through have helped me to grow into a stronger person.
Can I just share with you a sentence I believe helps to build confidence, and it really works: Never say yes when you mean no, and never say no when you means yes - simple but effective. I am sure most people can identify with this statement.
Trying to find a cause
Too many people spend too much time trying to find a reason for why they feel like they do, searching for that childhood memory that they believe must have triggered it off in the first place. In some cases, something may have happened in a person's earlier life that they may need to talk through with a professional and, if this is the case, then it may help to do this before they can start on the road to recovery. In a lot of cases, however, too much importance is placed on finding a root cause. Surely the only thing that really matters is, not why we began to feel like this in the first place, but how to recover.
So if you find yourself backtracking in an attempt to find a root cause for the way you feel and you believe that gaining this knowledge is an important part of your recovery, then go ahead and find a professional with whom you can talk things through. If, however, you are like me and it no longer matters how it all started and all you want to do is recover, then let it go, just move on and concentrate on what is important to you - recovery.
You have no control over the past but you do have control over your future.
So many people say that when they have recovered, they feel more confident and enjoy life even more than they did before they became ill. Well you certainly appreciate things a lot more and the trivial things in life seem just that - unimportant.
What is the best way to recover from anxiety?
The right way to recover from anxiety is through patience and understanding. You first need to understand that your body and mind are tired and they need a break from this daily battle you have with yourself. You need to begin to work and live with the feelings that are there, for the time being, and not try and fight and think your way better. Start by beginning to accept these feelings and you may begin to feel some peace.
Too many people with anxiety want to find that elusive miracle cure, they become impatient and do not realize this can be the very thing that is keeping them in the cycle.
Yes, we all want to be better today, not tomorrow, but this is what keeps us ill - impatience. We search around thinking there must be something out there, something we have missed, so we go from one idea to another, praying that each will work, and within a couple of weeks/months, we feel we are back to square one. Do not be impatient with yourself, watching the weeks go by and thinking you should be better by now. You are just putting more pressure on yourself. Let your body recover at its own pace and do not watch anxiously for recovery.
Just choose one road to follow and stick to it. It stops all that searching around in your mind for an answer, tiring your mind even further, and putting you under more stress and pressure when this is the last thing you need. Forget that miracle cure that has eluded you; it is not there. You did not feel like this overnight and you won't be cured overnight; your body needs time to heal. This statement can sometimes help people as it makes them finally realize they don't have to keep searching for an answer, looking for that elusive cure - the cure lies within them. Once you are on the road to recovery, it can be great just to experience the improvement in the way you feel.
Before I recovered, I was the same, searching for that elusive treatment, and I can honestly say that I tried every treatment going and not one of them felt right. At times I felt like I was taking my driving test again as I struggled to learn how to get on the road to recovery. The more I learned and the more I re-read, the more everything made sense.
The more you learn to accept and let go, the more your body will respond to your new way of thinking. Recovery will come, but let it happen in its own time; please do not put a time limit on it. Everybody is different and some people will recover more quickly than others. Trust me, just be patient and your body will take care of itself in its own time.
Look at it another way: if five million people around the world had a broken leg, not one of them would be healed within 24 hours. If five million people around the world had anxiety not one of them would be anxiety free in 24 hours whatever treatment they found - FACT. But this is what you are asking of yourself when you search for that miracle cure.
When I first heard the words "Paul you don't have to fight this thing", I felt so relieved. It was such a weight off my shoulders. I said, "Oh my God, that's such a relief. I thought if I didn't fight this thing and try to stop it coming, I was somehow failing myself". Now I knew I could just step out of the way and let nature take over.
Can you see how this one sentence took away so much stress for me? It meant I did not have to tense against it and constantly search around in my mind, day in, day out, trying to discover the miracle cure. I could also stop running around from one therapist to another, one treatment to another, wasting more and more money and being deflated yet again as treatment after treatment failed. I am sure most of you will recognize this pattern.
So, don't try and rush recovery; your body will heal in its own time. Do not fall into the trap that can keep you ill, wanting to escape from the way you feel today. Don't let impatience hold you back. Even deep into my recovery, old fears kept resurfacing, but I knew just to let them go and they did not hang around for long!
Sometimes this new way of thinking will make sense one day and come easily, then will be gone the next. This is something that happened to me, but it is just your memory trying to suck you back into old habits. Accept these days and keep practicing the new way until it becomes your new habit. Just stay on the road and as memory fades, your new habits will take over. Trust me, it worked for me.