Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Inspiration and revelation

Inspiration can come from the most unexpected source at the most unexpected moment.

Over Christmas I watched a film I had not seen for years. I saw it as a child when it first came out in 1984. It had an inspiring message and I loved it. This time I watched it with the same enthusiasm I had the first time around but found it inspiring for a very different reason. One of the main characters, Johnny Lawrence, has highlighted to me the dramatic impact anxiety has had on my whole life. I was struck by his carefree attitude, his energy, enthusiasm, optimism, friendships, achievement, and a love of life. Attributes which I feel I would benefit from if it were not for the burden of feeling that even the most insignificant of situations appear to carry a multitude of dangers. The character is actually the bad guy (and not a typical source of inspiration!) but nevertheless the filmmakers have given him these qualities and regardless of the fact that he is entirely fictional it has made me think. It does not have to be real because the attributes are realistic. I could be doing so much more with my life if I were free from the restraints of undue anxiety. It was a suffocating feeling to realise this. However, I did not feel defeated and an immense feeling of strength and motivation was added to my desperation to resolve my problem and start living fully. I was struck by the realization that what is more frightening than living with anxiety is not living a full life because of it. But how can I achieve that?

Once again I looked for any literature I could find that could help me and was amazed when I immediately found a fantastically helpful book called Anxiety Free by Robert. L. Leahy PhD. This book is a revelation to me. It explains about anxiety, evolution and our ancestors and how it is part of our biological heritage. Of course it is not a cure but it really makes sense to me and has helped me to understand why I feel the way I do. Understanding why is the key to overcoming it. I can recommend the book to anyone suffering with an anxiety disorder.

Life used to be something to be endured, but now I think perhaps it can be enjoyed. Knowledge is power as they say.

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