Traditionally, August has always been a month of transition. For me, August has seen both the start and end of my college education, the beginning of my first “real” job, and even the start of my marriage and the end of my life as a single, 20-something-year-old. New chapters begin while we finish others for good, and they can cause anxiety.
Change can be scary for anyone. For someone with anxiety, change is overwhelming if you allow your fear of it to define you.
Whether you’re entering college, leaving your hometown behind, or moving in with a significant other for the first time, being apart from your family and what’s familiar can be a challenge, and even more so when it’s not only you in the picture anymore.
When I graduated from college, as much as I wanted my freedom and the ability to do things on my own, I realized it completely new territory for me. I was in my first apartment with bills to pay, my own dinner to cook, dishes to clean, and a boyfriend who was sharing half of my space. My family was 150 miles away and I had never even done my own grocery shopping before.
It was an interesting first few months, to say the least.
Whatever changes the next few months may bring for you, we all learn some things along the way that are so important to remember.
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You’re new at this, so be patient—with yourself and with others.
It took about a week for my then-boyfriend-now-husband to realize I couldn’t cook much that didn’t come out of a box. This was frustrating for both of us, but especially for me. At first, I worried constantly my lack of domestic skills would eventually drive him away. But while he can make an awesome chicken casserole, I can’t even mention how he used to hang his towels up in the bathroom without wanting to fold something.
Moving in together was a learning experience for both of us, and while we sometimes disagreed (and still do), our willingness to compromise and forgive ourselves and each other was so essential to moving forward.
Be realistic about your goals.
Whether directly related to your recovery or just life in general, don’t self-sabotage by taking on too much at once.
Last summer, I made the mistake of not only moving into a new apartment, but also talking my husband into buying us a puppy (who was not at all housebroken, I might add). This was all one month before our wedding!
In hindsight, it’s easy to see that it was more than what I could comfortably handle, and the chaos it caused definitely affected me negatively. While everything worked out in the end, I should have been more patient with my own circumstances and given each new challenge the separate time and attention it warranted.
It’s okay to lean on others when you need support, but know when you should rely on yourself.
Stepping out of your comfort zone in a positive way is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your recovery. Especially when first starting out on your own, all the little things add up and can either help or hurt you.
Like many people out there dealing with anxiety disorders, talking on the phone can be a major stressor for me; however, I don’t know any working, married adults who can still rely on their mothers to schedule doctor’s appointments for them. As much as I don’t love to do it, it’s just one of those things I have to push myself to do, and I know I’m better for it.
There will always be challenges we face that require help from others, but sometimes, even when it’s uncomfortable, we have to go it alone and realize that’s exactly what we need to improve.
Lastly, remember to have fun!
That may seem like such a simple thing to try and do, but oftentimes, we let our anxiety and fears cloud everything, to the point that we can’t see the good that comes with change. These opportunities, new places, jobs, and people, are what you’ll look back on and remember.
While you might have bad days and struggle before you succeed, never lose sight of the bigger picture. Remind yourself how lucky you are, and that each day brings a new possibility.
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