Alana in Mahwah writes:
I am in my mid 40’s, alone, never married and suffer from anxiety and phobias that have basically ruled (and ruined) my entire life. If I had known when I was younger that my life would have turned out this way I don’t think I could have gone on. I get by by trying to think that things will get better – but if anything, things just seem to get worse.
My dream is to finally have an actual life, be able to do something meaningful and worthwhile. I so much want to meet a nice guy who will accept and love me, to get married and be part of my own family. Can you explain to me why my life has gone so wrong and is it possible to change things? I know to meet a guy and friends I need to get over my fears and get out. Please, do you have any advice for me on how I can do this.
Is there hope for me that my life actually does have a purpose that I have not figured out yet?
First of all, your entire life has not been ruined. Yes, your anxiety and phobias have kept you from having many of the experiences you would have liked to have had when you were younger, but focusing on “what could have been” is not inspirational… it’s depressing. Don’t take comfort in that depression. It holds you back, and keeps you from that better life you dream about.
Secondly, you have an actual life. Just because things aren’t the way you’d like them to be now, doesn’t mean that they are going to stay this way. Your life certainly hasn’t been a fluffy fairytale – but it hasn’t gone so wrong that things are impossible to change. Everything has led you to this point – this place where you recognize there are changes you need to make, and goals to work toward.
There is this vibrant person in you screaming to get out, but she is being held back by anxiety, depression and fear. You have faced a lot of challenges, done a lot of hard work, and come a very long way. But, you aren’t done yet. Part of the purpose of your life is not only to overcome your challenges, but also to help others, through sharing your personal experiences. If you do the work, you will be a changed woman, and that vibrant person who is inside of you now will emerge – and that changes everything.
If you truly are ready to embrace yourself and face the rest of your life, start today. Many people in your similar situation see a therapist who also is skilled with hypnotherapy. This combination approach has greatly helped many others with anxiety, phobias, and self-image issues. All of these things are very intertwined, and they play off of one another.
The combination of traditional therapy and hypnotherapy helps to fear less. I see you working with a brunette female. She’s a bit new-agey, and may apply some of those principles in her work. She will also have you in a bi-weekly group therapy. I know it sounds like a whole lot of therapy, and it is, but all this hard work will pay off. Think of the group as a therapeutic social hour. In many ways, for you, it is. Not only will it help you, but you will actually bond with a couple of people, and create some very good friendships. These are the first steps into a happy future.
Alana, you are always going to have some struggles, but you have the ability to blossom into this person who understands her purpose. You will become involved in helping small groups of people, in some kind of counseling capacity. You will be an inspiration, and a success story. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to be in the spotlight of the masses, but you will be able to stand in front of 8-10 people and speak your truths, sweaty palms and all.
While he may be a couple of years away from you, there is a man out there that you will meet. Though his challenges have been different, (he comes through as a recovering alcoholic) his path to wellness seems to mirror your own. It’s been a hard road for him, but he definitely has pulled it together. I believe his day-job is that of a teacher. You two will come together pretty quickly after you meet. Aside from the attraction, he makes you feel safe.
Don’t give up on yourself, Alana. Decide to do what you know you need to, and give yourself a fair chance. Wanting and waiting only passes time, time that can be healing if you choose to use it.