Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stronger Than I Think?

All too often I feel very inadequate to handle the stuff that life throws at me because of my disorder. It's not that I want to feel like a victim, I just have a hard time thinking of myself as "strong" when my heart starts racing the moment I get into something normal like an elevator. Conflict and debates are some things I typically read or listen to, but I try my best not to get involved because I don't know always how to handle it. It is easy to get into routine and even a rut for me because I fear change, not because change could be bad, but because change is different from what I am comfortable with. So, this weekend, when I was talking to my mom, and she said that she believed I was stronger than I thought, I wasn't exactly sure what to say about it.

Sure, I have done some things in my life that I never thought I could. I drove a U-Haul once- that's sometimes my mantra when I am trying to convince myself that I can do anything! But to say that I am strong because I can do some things that I consider brave that others see as mundane just seems odd to me. However, as I was thinking about it, I realized that my mom may be on to something.

The first step I took that many haven't is that I recognize and am working on my disorder. I am not so afraid of being branded as a "mental case" that I am unwilling to get help. I don't think of myself so highly that I think I am above needing help either. I went and saw the doctor and started the work to get better.

The second step that I did was to learn about my disorder and what it says about me. Learning about it helped me define who I am. I learned about what my disorder does to me and why it causes the things that it does. In turn, I was able to either learn to use these to my advantage or use the strategies worked on between my doctor and I to correct the unhealthy behavior. Sometimes it is hard not to be hypercritical of myself because of this self-reflection, however, that's also something that I am working on.

The third thing I did was recognize that this, too, can point to God's goodness and mercy. Through my anxiety disorder, God has taught me so many things, the biggest one, I think, is how much I need Him and how much I cannot do for myself. In the middle of an anxiety attack, I usually have to take something outside of myself into myself to solve the problem- adavan or temazepam. In the middle of my sin, Christ comes to me through my baptism, absolution, and the Holy Supper to give me salvation that I could not attain on my own. The similarities are uncanny!

Is my mom right? Am I stronger than I think? I am not sure, however, I have found that mommies are hardly ever wrong...