You’re Not Alone (Acknowledging Anxiety)

Three weeks back, I did something I’d been wanting to do for many months – I started seeing a therapist.

If I had my way, we’d all have affordable (for us) access to a therapist. A good one, who listens and knows the types of therapy that would be most helpful for us. Someone who gives us a safe space to work through the crap in our minds and helps us sort out our stuff.

If you’re reading this and you’re feeling like you’re in a great place right now, I am thrilled for you! I can tell you that from what I’m seeing on my social media feeds and hearing about through news outlets, it sure seems like most of the world has moved on from COVID-19 and is getting back to “normal”, or close to it. And it that’s you, I’m thrilled for you, and I truly hope you’re enjoying every minute of freedom and “normalcy”.

But honestly, even though I am sick of wearing masks, and miss seeing people’s faces, and I miss eating out at a restaurant in the winter, I’m just not there yet. It feels too soon, to me, to return to normal.

Lifting a mask mandate is all well and good (for most) when there’s a mild variant on the loose. But what if a new, more dangerous variant catches us off guard? One contagious enough to spread under the radar, when we’re least expecting it?

I’d love to say I’m embracing the now and taking it day by day and not worrying about what might come next. But that wouldn’t be accurate.

So these are the kinds of thoughts that are on my mind. I’m carrying a lot of stress and anxiety around COVID. Like a lot of us are.

Add to that the stressors of getting settled in a new country and the pressures and fears of a world at war, not to mention the anger and frustration at seeing so many people’s rights being taken away in the US (including New Hampshire, where I grew up, and Florida, our adopted home state), and I’m even more thankful to have a therapist.

I’m not sharing this for praise, or for pity.

I want you to know you aren’t alone. I want you to know that whether you wear a mask or not, and whether you’re “moving on” or not, it’s okay to experience anxiety.

And I want you to know that it’s okay to have some days, some weeks, even some months or years, where you’re not okay. Where you’re going through the motions, or phoning it in. Maybe you’ve had to take some time off, or add a nap into your routine. Maybe you’re tired of saying no to social plans out of fear.

Wherever you are, I want to encourage you.

Reach out to loved ones. They’ll probably relate, maybe even more than you realize.

Get a therapist if you can, and if not, seek out a trusted mentor or spiritual leader, or find an online support group aligned with where you are. Look for sliding scale therapy or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, or many of the other free resouces that may exist in your country, state, or city.

I’ve been digging deeper into the Enneagram for the past several months, and that means I’m doing a lot of work on getting to myself – who I am, how I became that person, and how I can become an even healthier, better version of me.

I also rely on journaling, exercising, getting outside, and all of my other existing coping mechanisms for when things get tough or feel overwhelming.

Whatever method(s) you use, and wherever you’re at, I’m wishing you all the best. You’re not alone.

And if you’re reading this, you’re here now, and I’m so glad.

Thanks for reading, and take care.

P.S. I’d like to get a group together to read The Road Back To You and do some Enneagram explorations. No previous experience required, just a copy of the book. If this journey of self-reflection (in a group setting) appeals to you, please leave a comment and let me know!

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