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I find it quite poetic that this article should be posted this month because on the 1st of March I was 35,000 feet in the air en route to London. It is poetic because I am leaving South Africa (again) and moving to France to start a new adventure and so, as the southern hemisphere gears down in preparation for winter, I am heading to the promise of spring. The symbolism abounds.
If you are familiar with my story at all, you’ll understand why heading to Europe was a big decision for me to make; a scary one, too.
In fact, when I made the choice, I was afraid of how people would react. I was afraid they would confirm the niggling doubt in the back of my mind that maybe I’d made a bad choice considering what happened last time. Thankfully, I was met only with affirmation and support of my decision.
When it comes to making decisions and my anxiety disorder, I’ve realised waiting to be completely recovered before I take any more risks could possibly mean waiting forever.
I’ve realised life is for living, not surviving.
I still have stuff to work through and deal with, I still have OCD, but why should it stop me from stepping out into a new adventure?
Speaking to my therapist recently, I told him my anxiety disorder motivates me. It may seem like a strange thing to say, but what I mean is this: having OCD is hard, but it makes me want to fight harder, to use my life well and do something worthwhile. It can drag me down, or I can stand on top of it.
I’d rather take the risk of heading out of my comfort zone than staying put and risk doing nothing.
Having lived in southern Africa my whole life, spring will be something of a novelty to me. Spring below the equator tends to be a less noticeable affair. Our winters never get as desolate as they do in the far north and so the change from winter to summer doesn’t have the same symbolism (and of course our seasons are the opposite way round). So heading into spring will be new in many ways: new beginnings, new experiences, a new path, and a new opportunity to learn and grow.
I am not suggesting you should do something as drastic as change continents, but if you feel in your heart a pull to do something new, something you’ve wanted to do for a while but are a bit uncertain about, maybe this spring is a good time to start looking into it, to start testing the waters.
I believe it is important as an anxiety sufferer to learn how to get the most out of our lives despite our conditions.
If we feel trapped or restricted because of our anxiety, we need to start looking into ways to overcome that feeling. Therapy is a great starting point. Just calling a therapist can be the biggest step of them all. It definitely changed my life.
As you step out into a new adventure, remember you don’t have to do it alone. To ask someone help you get out the door is not weak. It is not an imposition. To be scared is okay. To be restricted by fear is not okay. I don’t mean you are not okay for being restricted, I mean you deserve so much more than to be overcome by fear.
You deserve to be fully alive. You deserve to be happy.
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Sebastian is learning life by living it. Born in Zimbabwe, High Schooled in Zambia, and living in Cape Town, he isn’t really sure what to say when people ask, “Where are you from?” Seb went to Film School in Cape Town and has worked as a video editor for the last four years. He has battled with anxiety his whole life and has been through two severe episodes, experiencing intrusive thoughts and depression. He is on the road of recovery and has found that peace and a life free of fear is possible.
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