Some of the readers to part one of this article
posted that they wanted to know “how they could get rid of ingrained beliefs about their anxiety and feeling hopeless to change it.” After many years of trying to overcome anxiety and panic, it’s hard not to give up or remain hopeful about eliminating or managing it.
To get started with the “how,” imagine a justice scale. A justice scale has two sides and they hang equally until something is put on either side. Imagine that on one side of the scale are your negative beliefs and feelings about managing anxiety. On the other side is willingness to try regardless of your negative beliefs. This is the mindset that you need to adopt to move forward. It’s a balancing act where you acknowledge and work with both sides.
If you wait until you feel hopeful to seek out help then you may never get help! So the next step of the “how” is to take a leap of faith and ask for help. I have had many clients that start in therapy by telling me that they don’t believe that they could get better, but they hear my belief that they can. They accept that I have a course of treatment and they are willing to be open-minded even if they feel hopeless.
One of the great benefits of talking about your apprehensions is that now you and the therapist have something to work with. Your therapist should engage you in a deeper conversation about those apprehensions. The goal is that if you can talk about why you feel hopeless you can also talk about the part of you that still has hope.
Once that hopeful part appears you can then begin to work on the anxiety. Ultimately this is not an "either you have hope or you don’t" situation. It’s having both feelings of hope and hopelessness and managing those feelings while you begin the work of managing your anxiety.