Friday, April 8, 2011

Reading anxiety

The other day I had to read an important document. Well, “important” might be too strong of an adjective, but it was something I did need to read carefully. When I began the task my symptoms—an “old friend”—showed up. My vision became blurry and my breathing was shallow. I feared making a mistake, missing something important; my thinking was very insecure.

Then I began to spot that it is average to make mistakes—and it takes courage to make them. I reminded myself that it is not how we feel, but how we function that counts. Although my inclination was to not read this document, I had an obligation to do so, and I wasn’t going to let uncomfortable symptoms get in the way.

I muddled through the task. I didn’t feel great, but I endorsed myself. Before Recovery I would start a project like this; feel anxious; start over; feel more anxious; start over yet again—and something that should take ten minutes would take four torturous hours. Now, though, I have skills learned through Recovery training to deal with uncomfortable feelings and not let them run my life.