You are the cure. In his anxiety book, DARE, Barry McDonagh devotes an entire chapter to these four words. The only problem is when you are deep in the midst of anxiety it’s very hard to believe them.
I know from my own personal experience the thought of even the word cure seems so impossible. It’s very easy to believe that anxiety will last forever.
Well in a way, it will because anxiety is a human threat system designed to keep us alive. We can, nor should we ever wish to rid it for our own survival sake.
The problem is when we are stuck in survival mode every single day, where no danger is present. It is a very frightening and horrible way to live.
I remember reading and listening to the DARE book many times, and each time I wouldn’t believe the words cure. At the very most, all I believed possible was to gain skills to learn to manage to live and cope with this forever curse.
Simply managing to keep anxiety levels at a 2 or 3 when going for a walk, or a bike ride, or a drive, or to the mall. Mindfulness, breathing and watching the breath. Waking up early hours of the morning with surges of anxiety and again, watching and allowing, and using the breath.
Now, these techniques did work, to allow and accept rather than to resist anxiety. To keep pushing the boundaries with exposure therapy breaking out further day by day, week by week.
But still, seeing other DARE members describe how eventually they were “cured” and that it all went away, slowly but surely after many months, even longer.
I still didn’t believe it would ever happen, somehow I was “different” and anything other than management was impossible.
Despite this belief, I still focused on all the things I believed in. Meditation, exercise, walking, cycling, spending more time outside in nature and eating healthier, more nutritional foods.
Then one day thinking I noticed something. I could no longer remember the last time I wake up in the early hours of the morning with anxious energy surging through me, having to breath through it.
So I looked deeper into my mind, thinking back to the last time I was driving and had thoughts of “going crazy” or “feeling strange”, and I could no longer remember that either.
I continued to look at all of the anxiety-provoking situations, walking through malls, or attempting to cycle further from my home.
I struggled to remember any recent instance, I would have guestimated it to be months prior. Basically, I’d simply “forgotten” how to be anxious. I had reached what I never thought would be possible.
Now don’t think things will completely transform into a magical fairytale. Unfortunately, life will always be full of hard things, and pain and our minds will always be our greatest enemy and our best assets at the same time.
But that is a normal life, free from an anxiety disorder. Some anxiety is normal, and that’s completely fine. Don’t fear it, embrace it, accept it and accept yourself.
If you are reading this like I once was, doubting if your life will ever be free of crippling anxiety I want you to know don’t obsess about being cured or never being cured.
Instead just focus on living healthy, and the things within your control and one day you too may look back and realise you forgot how to have an anxiety disorder.