Words of Wisdom

Posted: October 5, 2010 in anxiety, hoarding

I’m watching the new episode of “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” I found this statement from one of the participants, a woman named Debbie, particularly worth repeating:

“I’m not going to say ‘I don’t’ anymore. It’s ‘I didn’t, but now I will.'”

This pretty much sums up my new philosophy on life. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past missing out on things because I was afraid. Anything that pushed me outside of my comfort zone, which didn’t take much, since my comfort zone was so small, was an “I don’t” moment. It was easier to not try and comfort myself with the idea that had I tried, I probably would have failed; by not trying, I was avoiding failure. I was protecting myself.

In 2007, I took a huge step by turning a typical “I don’t” moment into an “…I’ll try it…” moment. I moved to Alaska, despite the fact that I was terrified. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. Not only was I moving to a totally new place, where I didn’t know anyone (when I moved to Seattle for college, by contrast, I at least had family in the general area, even if I didn’t know them well), but I was going to a place that I would, quite literally, not be able to leave – one of my biggest triggers.

Instead of avoiding something scary, I faced it. I acknowledged that being nervous about moving to Alaska was normal, but being terrified of doing anything was something more – it was allowing the anxiety to control me, instead of letting me live my life. That was the first moment I took control of the anxiety, and acknowledged that I was going to be uncomfortable, but I was going to survive. I was relieved to get home four months later, but I also gained a new sense of freedom.

A few months later, I traveled alone to Tennessee for a research assignment. About half way through the trip, I noticed something…I wasn’t panicking, despite the fact that I was alone, driving a rented car that was unfamiliar, and in entirely new surroundings. A few days before I left, I got sick with a severe ear infection and had to drive myself to the walk-in clinic. I learned that I was uncomfortable, but the world didn’t end. That was a big turning point for me. It opened me up to embracing more therapy and really starting to change my life – to getting healthy.

Now, I’m starting to discover how amazing it can be to try new things so I can say “I did it!” Even if sometimes that means being disappointed at how things turn out. The satisfaction of knowing that I’ve given it my best effort is worth it. .

..next on the list, I’m considering skydiving…

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