April 7, 2016

I have debated for a while how much self disclosure I should put into these blogs. After all, I’m supposed to be a professional. (I say as I place my hands on my hips in a superman pose). Who would listen to a professional who expressed how weak they were? The answer in my head is no one. I am supposed to have the answers. No one will listen to me if they know the truth. But then there is this other voice in my head, a very rebellious voice, that says do it anyway. I like that voice. So here it goes:

I struggle a lot with anxiety, which I have aptly named ‘The Beast’. It’s horrible. It pops up its ugly head some times and says hahaha. No. You will not do that. Instead I will cripple you and make you cry in the middle of the grocery store (true story). Sometimes you think you have got it beat and it just loves to crush your self confidence to the ground. Oh you got this do you, well lets see about that.

The Beast has crushed me many a time over the years. Some times I have won, lots of times I have lost. Sometimes it brings along its friend depression. They are best buds. I hate them both. However, honestly, it turned out to be my secret weapon as a counsellor. I get it. I’ve been there. Life sucks some times. I’m with you.

Sometimes there are still bad times. But, I must say.. they are not nearly as bad as they used to be. I mostly win now. (Woohoo!) I was told by um… 4 doctors and lets say around 5 counsellors/ psychologists that I would never be free of the Beast. That he would always rule my life. I would like to say (and my rebellious voice especially loves this) those ‘professionals’ were wrong.

I didn’t actually intend to write this blog to offer hope. But its going that way so there you go. My intention was to tell you first, you are not the only one out there that feels this and second, to provide you with some tips. Things I have learned the hard way and I would like to pass along so you might not have to go through as many bad days. I am all for trying to knock down the Beast and his evil little friends.


  1. Get help. Not every therapist, counsellor, or doctor is created equal. If one doesn’t work go to another. I have been to over 12 doctors/ therapist and 1 was finally able to help me. Don’t give up. (Shameless plug- I am a good therapist)
  2. Medication. It can help. It doesn’t mean you can forget and numb the underlying issues but it can help. Yes there can be side effects. Yes you at times have to try a lot of meds before you discover the one that works. Yes doctors have long wait times.
  3. Stop ignoring. Your anxiety is trying to tell you something. The Beast usually is acting up because something needs to be uncovered. It could just be a need for boundaries or self esteem. Or, Yes, Freud was a little bit right, it could be a repressed memory. Who knows. Thats why you need to (refer to #1) get help.
  4. Embrace the Beast. I know! It feels like a betrayal to read that. As I type this I actually have flashbacks to watching Beauty and the Beast as a kid (My Fav Disney movie). I had a crush on the beast (no joke). I thought he actually got uglier when he became human. He was just so big and fuzzy and loveable. Okay your anxiety is not fuzzy and loveable, but there is a need to see that there is something inside the Beast that you may not have seen before (cue Disney music). The more you pull away from your anxiety the worse it will get. Next time you get a panic attack talk to your anxiety. Say I’m feeling anxious, this is just anxiety, it is not going to kill me, what is it trying to tell me? And listen to what your gut says. Push in and it will release, if only a little. Pull back and it will sharpen its grip. (It’s true, stop doubting me)
  5. I could keep going but this is a lot of words and you have probably stopped reading….

I’ve personally experienced the impossible become possible though it wasn’t easy. The Beast does not have to rule you forever. It can be worked on. I’ve seen it, experienced it and done it. I hope this helps you if only a little. Pain is easier when it is shared.

– Carissa