The Answer Was Right There
I quickly realized that who I surrounded myself with I became! My environment had a massive impact on how I thought, felt and even acted. The more I hung around and practiced with better tennis players than me, the faster I improved my own tennis game. The more anxiety forums I became attached to daily sharing how bad my day went and my fears of the future, the bigger the hole was that i was digging myself into.
By the doctor saying that I needed a fresh perspective that will lead to a new beginning, I quickly realized it meant that I needed to put myself in an environment that could make my anxiety disorder issues look much smaller then what I made it out to be. I did the one thing I always deep down wanted to do, I booked a visit to the children’s hospital the next day so I could get a first hand look at the children there who were suffering through illnesses I feared having due to my health anxiety.
Grateful For My Condition?
As I walked through each room of the children’s hospital saying hi to all the kids, a feeling started coming over me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. That was the feeling of guilt, guilty for playing the role of victim each and everyday for years around the people that cared for me the most, guilty for being selfish and thinking of my needs only without considering the needs of others, and guilty for giving into the cycle of fearful thoughts that led to focusing solely on these symptoms of anxiety.
These kids were only into the first few years of their lives, and were asked to bravely battle illnesses
that they weren’t prepared to battle. I realized that they didn’t have control over their illness at all, whereas my condition was something I had total control over.
I walked out of the children’s hospital that day feeling like a complete piece of (fill in the blank). 2 things hit me in the evening that day, #1) I either didn’t have any thoughts related to my anxiety or I just didn’t pay much attention to them the whole day I was there, #2) I created a new ‘visual’ to what I pictured my anxiety to be, what was once a monster the size of tyrannosaurs rex that dictated how I lived my life in every aspect, was now a new born baby crying for my attention. Incredible what one experience can do for a person I thought to myself. Not only that, but the power of mental imagery can truly set a person dealing with anxiety disorders completely free.
The Next Step
That crying baby that was now my new connection to my anxious thoughts, gave me 2 choices that were different from the tyrannosaurus rex which game me none. #1) I could either pay attention to it, respect it, and grow old with it. #2) leave it in the background of my daily life while I completely put my focus and energy into what was truly important in my life. I began to build on the guilty feelings I felt from my visit to the children’s hospital, and chose to work on re-conditioning the second option into my life. I needed more fuel though, I needed to keep the momentum going so I didn’t fall back into the thoughts and actions that created my GAD and panic disorder. So I suggested the only thing I could think of, the only thing that would possibly bring a permanent change into my life and stop my anxiety disorder once and for all and that was to move my family to a place called Bali, Indonesia. A place of gratitude for the small things in life and peace. Now all I had to do was convince my new fiancee that this was a good idea (as well as consistently convince myself), but with a new born baby and no money to fall back on… it would be one hell of a conversation during dinner time…
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