I heard topic discussed recently on a Mel Robbins’ coaching session (thank you Audible for another #gamechanger of a car journey). She was speaking to a guy who was a recovering alcoholic, who had been sober for the last 4 years. Only… he hated new telling people he was sober – because of course it led to a whole series of potential questions and judgements from the other person. If he admitted to being sober; he was ultimately also admitting to being an alcoholic.
Yet, as Mel pointed out – denying the fact that he was now sober and acting as if it was something to be ashamed of, was actually denying him all the pride and joy of beating this life-threatening addiction.
It was a really emotional point in the session – a turning point. Because it hit home.
And it hit home for me too. Not because I have much experience with addiction, but because I also have a habit of denying problems – of avoiding, pretending, faking it.
I had a bit of an Anxiety wobble in a meeting yesterday, which really took me by surprise. And because it took me by suprise, my body treated to a lovely dose of shame afterwards. Thoughts arose like, “Surely this shouldn’t still be happening to me?! I’m a Mindfulness expert for gods’ sake! What more do I have to do?” Oh the irony. Oh the shame!
I let myself feel this. Knowing that it is just a feeling.
And remind myself of just how far I have come from the girl I was ten years back. That girl rarely slept through the night. She shook with anxiety from morning to night. She never stopped – partly because she had so much to do; so much to think about; but partly because she was afraid of silence and pause. That girl had an out-of-body experience every time she met someone new, or attempted some kind of social challenge.
Perhaps because I’ve found myself in a job whereby I help others (successfully I’ll add!) to overcome anxiety, I’ve neglected myself. Perhaps, I went into that meeting feeling a little complacent (was the anxiety a sign that I should have prepared more?) Perhaps, I’ve re-started doing what I used to do – comparing myself to some imaginary perfect superhero of a person, simply so that I could beat myself up when I did perform as well.
Whatever the reason though, what’s becoming clear to me now is that I’ve started to think of my own anxiety of something that either is – or should – be cured.
But it’s not.
I’m pretty sure it won’t ever be.
It’s part of me – sometimes more visible than others, but always there.
And I’m going to strive to accept and embrace that fact.
Because admitting that my anxiety disorder is a lifelong disorder and really owning that fact, is the only way that I’ll really be able to feel a massive sense of pride in all that I have done despite this fact.