I will frequently sit on the counters of my kitchen to talk to my husband about my problems. Strangely enough, it only seems to be those conversations that produce counter sitting. Perhaps I’ve just found a way for my husband to immediately hone in on serious conversations.
Well, one evening in particular I plopped myself atop the counter, and blurted out: “So what happens if this comes back?” He was completely confused because this question had come out of nowhere, at least to him. In my mind, however, I had already been reeling for hours on end.
“What if…what…comes back?” he asked.
I replied to him, my anxieties and fears about depression, death, and losing control.
“Well, you’ll handle it, just like you always do.”
He was right, after all, that if my anxieties came back I would just manage them. I knew how to make myself relax, how to rationalize with the crazy voices in my head that made me believe lies and irrationalities. But it was in that moment I realized something tremendous: I had crossed an extremely important recovery line.
For months on end I had been struggling with the idea that these fears and anxieties would never go away. What if it never gets better? It was a common question I was tired of asking, and one I’m sure those I trusted with my ramblings were tired of hearing. For some reason though, on this day, my question changed.
What if it comes back?
This is a question I hadn’t asked myself since the early days of my emetophobia recovery, and it was a question I had subconsciously been grasping at for months. This question alone showed me where I had come, and that I was one huge step closer to conquering these fears.
“What if this never goes away?” is a question I’m sure every person struggling with any difficult battle has asked. No one wants to be miserable, and no one wants to spend every single day riddled with anxiety, depression, pain, or worries. Finding resolution to a problem you’re having is always the end goal, even if it takes a little longer to figure it out. This question is asked in moments of desperation; desperation for answers, relief and recovery.
But the question “What if it comes back?” shows progress is being made. It means that you’ve seen the days without the struggle, and you know how it feels to in a place of solitude. You’ve had days, weeks, or months where everything just seemed perfectly aligned. You really felt like you for the first time in who knows how long. This question arises out of finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and being scared that someone or something will snuff out that light.
For me personally, this question signaled that I was beginning to understand that the emotions I feared were only temporary. That I could safely ride the ebb and flow of emotions throughout the day and experience moments of happiness, anger, frustration, sadness without anxiety. It showed me that I wouldn’t be perpetually stuck in sadness, but I also wouldn’t be perpetually stuck in happiness. I could just feel any emotion I wanted and know it’s okay that it happened, and it’s okay that if it couldn’t be sustained.
But it also signaled the beginning of the end of these anxieties. For the first time in roughly 6 months I was at a point where I was having more good days than bad. I was finally starting to control emotions that felt uncontrollable, and I was finally starting to feel like me again.
I’ve said this before, but anxieties and fears have an unique way of stripping us of who we are. They take away your voice, your freedom, your ability to function; and they leave you feeling defeated, unsure, and believing thoughts of anything. But when you finally find the strength and courage to stand up to those anxieties, something miraculous happens.
I still have a long way to go on this journey, but I keep reminding myself that I’ve crossed a threshold I refuse to go back over. I no longer worry about this never going away. Now I worry about it possibly coming back, but the ball is in my court. As long as I can stand on higher ground, I have the advantage.
You know, I just thought of something. Perhaps my desire to find higher ground to gain control of my anxieties was portrayed by my desire to sit on my counter tops while talking about them. When I sit on the counter tops, I’m literally higher than most other things in my home. I am literally choosing to position myself on higher ground while talking about my fears and anxieties.
Or, maybe I just find sitting on the counter a more viable option that sitting on the floor or standing.
I guess we’ll never truly know.
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Lastly, we run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle we are passionately engaged in. It 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.