As I get older in life, it seems there is never a point where I don’t have problems. Solutions to older problems seem to just give rise to newer problems. Similarly, as I grow and mature, some of the problems I had when I was younger seem to fade away as unimportant, replaced instead by more adult problems like bills, work, childcare, etc. You rise to face problems, and problems answer with new complications. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. And the same is true of anxiety. The more you learn to manage your anxiety, the more it seems to wrinkle into your life in new and different ways. Anxiety, it seems, always answers.
In some ways, this is a reflection of the fact mental illnesses like generalized anxiety disorder don’t have cures, they just have treatments, so there will always be wrinkles popping up. It is also a reflection of how masterfully anxiety can lie. Because it is the same demon, but it lies and puts on a million different masks, making you think the anxiety you are experiencing now is somehow completely different from the anxiety you experienced last week.
But like I said, it is the same demon. And some of the same coping mechanisms work across the anxiety spectrum.
These can be grounding techniques. Or maybe they are breathing exercises. Maybe physical exercises even. Whatever the tool, the fact is that once you learn it, it will always be in your toolbox, meaning that you can always pull it out for those times when anxiety answers.
Anxiety’s constant tendency to re-occur just when you thought you got a handle on it is one of its many annoying tendencies. Yet you always have your own answer available, not just in the form of coping mechanisms, but also in the form of support systems that are out there, not only friends and family, but also professional services, hotlines, and so much more. When anxiety answers, challenging to undo the process you’ve made in your recovery, always remember that there are so many out there who have found answers of their own. It was possible for them and it is possible for you.