It’s no secret that I see a counselor. In fact, I think I might annoy people by carrying the good word of the benefits of a good counselor far and wide. It truly does make a difference, and this week I learned a very valuable lesson from my counselor that is going to serve as my weekly inspiration.
I opened up to him about another big episode of anxiety and we began talking it out. He walked me through it, made me look back and try to pick out exactly what was happening in my life to trigger it. Once it was all said and done, reasons discovered and reactions explained, he ended it with this:
“I always tell people to never say they should be able to handle something just because someone else can. Everybody handles things differently, and just because it’s easy for them doesn’t mean it’s easy for you. Don’t compare yourself to others when what you can handle is purely subjective.”
You know how sometimes you just hear something and you instantly think to yourself, “I needed to hear this today.” That’s how I felt when I heard that on Thursday.
I have always said that I should be able to handle my anxiety, panic and fears better because everyone else can. I feel like if 4 year olds can fly on an airplane, so should I. If my husband can handle a stomach bug, so should I. I find myself wondering what’s wrong with me that makes it so I can’t handle something so silly and simple?
The answer is nothing. Nothing is wrong with me, and nothing is wrong with you either. We are all different, all created with varying thresholds and limits, and we should never compare ourselves to others in that way.
No one can tell you what stresses you out or panics you. The only person who knows what pushes your buttons, makes you worry or scared, is you. Don’t concern yourself with whether or not you’re handling it as well as someone else, because you aren’t them.
Emetophobia is tough that way. We see that there is an entire world filled with people who aren’t scared of throwing up, and we go, “I should be able to handle this better because everyone else can.”
But the fact of the matter is, you are handling it as well as YOU can, and that’s all you should be focused on. We are all wired to have a window of normalcy, a little box that allows us to be within our limits of stress and anxiety free. Each box is going to be just slightly different, and that’s just what makes us wonderful.
What might be a 9 to you, could be a 4 to someone else, but it doesn’t mean that either person is wrong or right. They are just reacting to that situation the way they feel they should, and that’s perfectly okay.
So the next time you’re sitting at home and are upset because you think you should be able to handle something better because your seemingly calm, cool and collected coworker is doing just fine on that tight deadline while you pull out your hair, tell yourself that you aren’t them and your feelings are justified. Take a step back, break down the situation and try to remember that you can handle this, and you will be just fine.
Not only are your feelings justified, but they are real and they are meaningful. Don’t let someone else make you feel bad for your differences.
Just be proud, be brave and be you.
Until next time, Internet.
If you would like to email me, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to respond to you within 48 hours, but if for some reason I cannot get back to you in that time frame, I promise I will always respond as soon as possible. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.