Monday, April 6, 2009

The Good From The Bad; Or, Why I Try Not To Regret Anything

Before you do something, it's easy to say that you won't regret it. It's also impossible to promise that you won't.

I refer to my "situation" of the past few months on my blog with a good deal of vagueness. Part of the reason for that is because I can't even really figure it out myself, and part of it is because I really just don't want to throw it out there for the world to see. I'm not far enough out of the situation yet. But for anyone putting the pieces together at home, the basic gist of it is that there was a guy, and he hurt me bad and helped me grow.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while already know that I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for over 10 years. In the fall, I had one of the most severe anxiety attacks of my life. It was horrific, and lasted for hours. That was one of the biggest turning points I can pinpoint in my life. At that moment, I decided that I was going to get control of my anxiety instead of letting it control me. I went out and bought a self-help book, started doing yoga, and changed up my diet a bit to eliminate certain things that may make anxiety worse. I started drinking tea like it was going out of style. (And me drinking more tea than I did before was hard - I am a tea fanatic!). It was like that attack was me hitting bottom, and you have to hit bottom before you can stop falling, and pick yourself up.

I have had ridiculous success with handling my anxiety, and I am proud to say that, though I have not been free of anxiety altogether, I have not had another crippling attack since that night all those months ago. I've abolished my ridiculous 8-Hour-Rule, a tactic I've employed since age 12. The first day of school this semester was the first time since I was 9 years old that I did not spend an hour in bed convulsing before I could get myself up and out to school. Six months ago, this many months without a truly crippling panic attack would have seemed impossible. And I feel like I truly had to hit that point where I realized how many wonderful things I was missing out on by being so afraid before I could turn things around. With my successful control of my anxiety came many wonderful discoveries in my guy situation, many things I would never have been able to handle before.

But nothing lasts forever. I knew this of course, from the very beginning, but even though it's not like it came as any huge shock, that didn't make it any less sucky, or painful. When things started to take what I saw as a downhill turn, I started to become insecure about myself. It was because I wasn't pretty enough, I told myself. It was because I wasn't smart enough, or skinny enough. It's because I'm too young, or too inexperienced, the little voice in the back of my head told me. And my friends, of course, being the good friends that they are, threw this poor guy under the bus time and time again say that of COURSE it wasn't me, it was him. And each and every time, I defended him. Because I liked him. A lot. So instead of admitting that maybe it's not my fault, I wanted to better myself. So I started dieting, and exercising more, and taking better care of myself. But if I can keep up those good habits now and keep myself healthy, does it matter what sparked it in the first place? It's a good thing for me, plain and simple.

So I titled this entry "The Good From The Bad", but at the heart of it, was the bad ever even really bad? Okay, so I spent a good many nights hugging my pillow in tears, I spent some time being angry at myself, and bitter, and I spent some days focusing on things that maybe it would have been better to just let go, but can I honestly deny that I'm a much better person for it? J.R.R. Tolkien is one of my favorite authors, and I have a quote of his written on the little whiteboard on my refrigerator (for anyone who is unfamiliar with my refrigerator, it is the most positive, inspirational, awesome refrigerator you will ever see).
"You can only come to morning through the shadows." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Yes, I cried, I ached, I screamed into my pillow in frustration, but it helped me turn my life around. For better or for worse, the last year has made me really grab life by the horns, and take control. I have gotten my anxiety under control to an extent that I wouldn't have thought was possible six months ago. I've completely revamped my diet, and I've started exercising even more, and taking vitamins. I have overcome so many irrational fears that plagued me in the past, and I feel like a completely different person. I feel like if I could handle that situation, really, what CAN'T I handle? I'm braver, stronger, and sure, I've still got PLENTY of issues to work on, but who doesn't? I feel like at least I'm getting somewhere - it's a step in the right direction.

Have you ever been through something awful that really helped you grow? Have you ever experienced something painful that you later realized helped you to become a better person?


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