by Pat Merrill
Perhaps it is simply human nature to want a “quick fix.” All of us, especially when we are suffering, want relief NOW. That’s natural. But is there a magical, fast track cure for phobias and anxiety?
It does not appear that there is. However, if we are willing to “go back to basics”–that is, to use the tried-and-true fundamental approaches to recovery-we find our very best shortcut to improvement.
Rather than looking for the fastest way out of our misery, we seem to be far better off in the long run if we are willing to loosen our grip, so to speak, and stop fighting our anxiety. Work with it. (Easier said than done? Yes, but it is doable–and more than worthwhile.)
How many of us have read dozens of books on recovery practices, but as time goes on, we find we are still miserable? And how many of us have been to several doctors/therapists/treatment programs, and remain anxious? Truly, that is so very discouraging.
But we have to honestly look at the reasons for this common situation. Certainly, there are techniques, therapies, and tools that we might practice religiously without good results, and this could simply indicate that they are not useful approaches for a particular individual. If this is the case, then we need to move on and try more approaches that could suit us much better; we must find what works for us.
Another realization is the sad truth that some therapies and approaches are not very good to begin with! For example, there are well-meaning therapists who try to treat folks with anxiety disorders, but they are perhaps not so well-qualified to do such specialized work.
But another important consideration is this: Did we honestly give the program of treatment the effort and length of time necessary to bring results? If we are honest, many of us, though not all, would have to admit that they did not give it the necessary work or time required.
With each individual, there is a unique course of progress. For some of us it goes relatively quickly, for others it seems excruciating slow. As I have said so many times, recovery is a process. And while I wish I could say that it is a straight uphill climb, I have to report that, more often, it is a climb of great effort complete with slips backwards and much exhilarating forward progress!
We have basic tools we need to work with. Breathing skills, cognitive changes, desensitization work, daily relaxation, relieving stressful situations in our lives, healing old emotional wounds, developing a strong sense of self, and perhaps medication is called for. These are among our “basics.” It is up to us to put them into practice and have the patience and drive to see it all through.
No one said is would be easy, but we can do our best to make it as pleasant as possible. Just knowing that we are on a journey to feeling better than ever is a great motivator. And know, too, that this same set of challenges is being met by hundreds of others reading this newsletter along with you, as well as thousands of others. We aren’t alone, and we have so much to look forward to. Recovery is within reach, and that is the most basic–and wonderful–premise of all.
(This posted article was originally published in our ENcourage Connection Newsletter, print version.)