One thing I realize was that the decision to seek professional help was the best decision I could have made. Any kind of self-help may be helpful, but by itself insufficient. Often the symptoms of anxieties are very obvious on the surface, but there are usually deeper issues that need to be uncovered and treated.
During my treatment I and my therapist uncovered some issues dealing with my strict parents. These discussions were very valuable to help me come to terms with my parents and for me to forgive them.
I also had to get treatment for a recurring traumatic memory, which required an EMDR specialist referral. I still do not understand how eye movement desensitization and reprocessing works, but it was effective for me.
My therapist also sent me to a group class to learn ways to deal with anxieties. What I learned most was about my list of self-defeating thoughts and how to counter them. I list some of them below.
Example: If I don’t succeed completely then I have failed.
Counter: A social encounter with small fault can still be considered a success.
Example: If I act nervous they will think I am crazy.
Counter: If I act nervous they will not pay too much attention on it.
Example: Was that the best response?
Counter: I meant what I said.
Example: This dinner date will turn out badly.
Counter: I will get to experience something new with my date.
Jumping to Conclusions
Example: They are laughing at me.
Counter: They are laughing because they are happy.
Example: Oh no I am panicking again.
Counter: I love and accept the part of me that is fearful. (Truly love and accept – feeling a warmth surrounding you)
I felt learning how to deal with my triggered responses was key to become free from anxiety. I meant that we can practice relaxation techniques all we want, but when panic attack comes knocking what do we do? For me there was no other solution except love and acceptance. I believe God gave me that break-through at the crucial moment, and I will tell you that story next time.
Heavenly father I give thanks to all that you have done for me. You saved me even when I have not believed in you. I pray for healing for all the people who are still suffering from anxieties. Sent your helpers to them, so they may have new life. May they find love and freedom in you, for your promises are true and good. In the name of Jesus – our mighty healer, amen!