January 31, 2018

“Can I Recover?” – A Common Question Asked By Anxiety Sufferers

can I recover“ Can I recover ?”  This is a question that I have been asked many times.  It’s common for people to question their ability to recover.  Anxiety leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless, so doubting ourselves is natural.

When I first started working on my recovery I had the same doubts.  I felt so broken, that the idea of recovery seemed so far away.  And every person I have spoken to about their suffering all mentioned they had similar thoughts as well.  “ Can I recover ?” is a common question for many of us.

The short answer to the question “ Can I recover ” is “Absolutely!”  There is no doubt in my mind that if you are visiting my blog looking for information on how to create a recovery, then you can recover!

Now for the long answer;

The treatment center where I created recovery has been in existence since 1971.  Literally, thousands of people passed through the center over the years.  And they claimed a 97% success rate.  This percentage is based on behavior modification only (no medication).

In my relatively short employment at the treatment center (approx. 6 years) running various workshops and support groups, I encountered all kinds of people.  With all kinds of stories.  From every walk of life, from all over, regardless of where they lived or their specific situation, they were all able to create recovery.  Recovery does not discriminate or favor any individual over another, for any reason.

I met people that had suffered horrific traumas.  I met people who were homeless.  I met people who were disabled.  I met alcoholics.  I met people that were addicted to narcotics.  I met professionals.  I met higher educated people.  I met high school dropouts.  I met people from all over the world.  I met people who couldn’t leave their house (I went to them).  Every situation you can think of and any description you can imagine, I met someone who would fall into that category.   And they all created recovery.

I worked with people who suffered such severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that their lives were completely dictated by rituals and checking.  And each one recovered.

People that developed anxiety disorders as a result of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were able to create recovery.  I wrote a post about a gentleman who suffered for over 40 years from PTSD.  This gentleman was a testament to the program and an inspiration to all.  Read his story;

Agoraphobia, driving phobics, fear of heights, fear of insects, fear of vomiting, eating disorders as a result of anxiety disorders, anything you can think of; and they recovered.

Not to mention that I recovered myself.  I was a housebound agoraphobic, driving phobic, bridge phobic, height phobic, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, depression, etc.  (I’m sure I missed a few, but you get the message.)

I’m sharing this information with you because I do not want you to think for a moment that you are different than anyone else.  The term “anxiety disorders” covers a very wide range of suffering.  It’s easy to think one type of suffering is more difficult than another, but it is not.  It is all the same.

So if you ask, ” Can I recover “, I want you to know that you can.

And it doesn’t matter where or how an anxiety disorder began.  It doesn’t matter if it was a month ago or ten years ago.  It does not matter if you know why it started or not.  The process of recovery is the same for all of us.  There is no difference.

The only thing required to create recovery is a will to fight for it.

I’m going to repeat that because that is the most important thing I’m writing in this post:

“The only thing required to create recovery is a will to fight for it.”

Suffering from an anxiety disorder is essentially a learned conditioning; a learned behavior.  If you have the ability to make a decision to work on recovery, then you can recover.  Recovery is created by intention.  By changing our behavioral response to a specific trigger, is how we end our suffering.

Creating recovery is not necessarily easy.  Actually, it can be quite the opposite; recovery can be difficult.  Recovery requires us to acknowledge our fear, and then look away from it.  This is extremely scary for us to do.  Everything in your body is screaming “danger”, and you need to look away, use tools, and recondition your response to a situation that your own self-defense system has deemed dangerous.  To visualize this I use the following image; it’s like believing a large, hungry grizzly bear is next to me, and I have to look away and start using tools.  We have to ignore the perceived threat of danger and recondition our behavior to respond accordingly.

And there is no way to predict how long it will take to create recovery.  I always say within several weeks with steady, consistent effort there will be some noticeable change.  But solid long-term recovery takes months, if not years.  This is not about a “quick fix” or a simple solution.  This program is about long-term sustained recovery.

I have been personally working on my own recovery for 24 years this summer.  The worst of my suffering came to a halt years ago.  But I am still a work in progress.  I don’t believe that we are ever finished.  That doesn’t mean that suffering lasts for so long.  But rather change in general is constantly giving us the opportunity to grow and work with our anxiety.

If you do nothing, time will pass.  If you do something, time will pass the same.  By not engaging the act of recovery is not helping you in any way.

Engage the process of recovery.  Small, manageable steps.  Start by practicing the tools.  Make a list of tools and put together a “toolbox”.  Practice, practice, practice!  And implement the tools in your life.

Make changes in your self-care practices.  Slight changes.  Again, small, manageable steps.

You make slight changes in your life today – followed by consistent effort – and you will create a positive change in your life.  And ultimately full recovery!

Let this post be a call to action!  No one can create the recovery for you, you have to do it yourself!

Now ask yourself, ” Can I recover ?”.

Never give up!  Persistence!

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