I am publishing this blog which was submitted to me by one of the members of a recent group. It is their reflections after the completion of our group treatment programme.
When we are small we reach milestones. First word, first steps, first time on bike, first kiss, first day at school etc. All of firsts require leaps of faith on the part of humans. These firsts were anxious moments.The fear of doing, the fear of being seen, the fear of failing to a great or less degree impacted on the enjoyment of these experiences.
Once we achieve milestones like these most of us move on to the next one and the next one and the next. Onwards and upwards is the message. But what if you get stuck? What if anxiety becomes so strong as to stop you not only reaching milestones but even hindering an attempt at reaching them. What then?
Overwrought Social Anxiety and anxiety in general have been destructive parts of my personality. At times they have enslaved my very being, brought about destruction to my relationships, to my work life and to my inert instinct to give and receive love. It has been a demon of Faustian proportions. A demon that makes your skin crawl, gives you sleepless nights and joyless days. Yes, anxiety has a necessary evolutionary purpose but when its gets to the point where you cant go out your own front door or answer a phone call from a family member you have to say enough is enough.
Thankfully I found Social Anxiety Ireland and took part in the 14 week programme Odhran has in place. Now thats it finished I can say that I’m a better man for it.
I can write now that I started the group surrounded by strangers but I finished it surrounded by friends. As I looked around the room last night I reached a very special place, a place where my trust and faith in humanity was boosted, a place where cynicism dies and hope begins. I learned something new every week and now that its ended I can safely say i’ll miss it.
My health is certainly better now than it was before. My management of social anxiety is certainly better than it was before. My enjoyment of life is certainly better that it was before. In summation today is the first day of the rest of my life and there will be many more milestones to look forward to now as my anxiety-plane is no longer stuck in gear; I can grow to become more of the pilot rather than the passenger.
Thank you for the re-energizing the gift of self-compassion for me.