This writing was shared with me by one of my clients. With her permission, I am sharing it with you. Enjoy!!!
I watched the Everest Imax movie in high school.
Climbers buy the best quality gear to help them in their quest to the top. They search out the warmest, lightest outwear to protect themselves from the elements. They hire the most experienced, capable guides to lead them.
Yet still, they need to climb. They need to put one foot in front of the other. They need to trudge through snow, and balance themselves on ice covered cliffs.
True, without the gear, the protection, and the guides you wouldn’t last thirty seconds moving towards your goal. But all the money in the world, the best guide and the latest model gear cannot get you up to the peak of the mountain if YOU are not willing to climb.
This is how I sometimes feel about battling my anxiety.
I have the best therapist, an awesome doctor, a sensitive husband, a supportive and understanding family, and the sweet love of my children.
I have researched and found medicine that works for me, increasing my serotonin to normal levels. I do stretching and breathing exercises, and occasionally get a massage.
But I still need to be the one to climb the mountain. I need to put one foot in front of the other when I feel like I’m about to throw up from the intense anxiety pushing at my chest. I need to trudge through my thoughts and feelings to figure out if there is, and if so, what might be the source of why I feel this way. I need to carefully balance my priorities so I don’t waste precious mental energy and time.
It’s so different from my experience with a physical illness.
Sure, having Crohn’s disease is no picnic. It’s painful, embarrassing and can get quite annoying (yes, I can make a directory of all the public bathrooms in the city.)
But really, it’s more like a very long international flight that gets delayed about half the day so you almost miss your connection. You wait for hours in a stuffy, dirty, overcrowded waiting area. You sit in a narrow seat on the plane flanked on either side by people who could either use a shower or are wearing a nasty smelling deodorant. And sometimes you even have to run through an airport to catch a flight.
It’s not a pleasant experience, but you are not the one physically doing the work. There are pilots flying the plane, and flight attendants who actually offer you a drink.
It took time to find the right doctor, and alternative care, but really in the end all I had to do was show up for appointments and make it through the prep for surgery without vomiting, (ok so I did vomit, but who cares?).
And people understand physical pain. They get it. They are sympathetic. And somehow, that helps.
But even if everyone in the whole world understood emotional pain, if I didn’t put one foot in front of the other, there is no way to get any closer.