Language possesses an extraordinary influence, shaping our thoughts and molding our perceptions. I vividly remember a mentor emphasizing the power of words, telling me, "Words are magic; that's why they call it spelling!" Having navigated two decades of recovery, I've witnessed the evolving discourse in the behavioral health field surrounding individuals with mental health challenges and a history of substance use. Despite strides forward, stigma endures, with detrimental narratives persisting. However, within this blog, my intent is to delve into the profound impact of the language we use when discussing ourselves.
For years, I labeled myself as "just an anxious person." Take a moment to reflect on that – I had interwoven anxiety into the very fabric of my identity. It became an inseparable aspect of who I believed I was. It wasn't until I engaged in transformative work with an exceptional CBT therapist that I started to perceive things differently. I wasn't an anxious person; I was an individual living in a perpetual state of anxiety triggered by the fight-or-flight response. Anxiety wasn't my essence; it was a response, not a permanent fixture. To alter this narrative, I had to shift my thinking, rewrite my story, and recognize the power I possessed to shape my thoughts and, consequently, my emotional state.
This journey wasn't a leisurely stroll in the park. It involved residing in my prefrontal cortex, dismantling triggers like social media – those deceptive dopamine hits that left me drained and activated simultaneously. I questioned the incessant need to stay glued to the news for constant updates, realizing it perpetually kept me in a state of heightened alertness without room for rest and reset. Taking deliberate steps, I removed social media from my phone, limited news consumption, embraced yoga, reading, walking, immersed myself in nature, tuned into uplifting podcasts, and redefined my spirituality.
Reframing my thoughts and beliefs about myself has been nothing short of magical. I've discovered a newfound sense of freedom, enabling me to surpass even my wildest dreams. The journey continues, and with each step, I'm crafting a narrative that speaks to resilience, growth, and an unwavering commitment to my well-being.
As this chapter concludes, I'm reminded that words are indeed spells we cast upon ourselves. Breaking free from the enchantment of identifying as "just an anxious person" has been a profound revelation. Anxiety was not an inherent part of me but rather a response, a chapter in my story that I could rewrite.
Reframing my thoughts and beliefs has gifted me a newfound sense of empowerment, propelling me beyond the confines of my former identity. The journey doesn't end here; it's a continuous narrative of resilience, growth, and an unwavering commitment to my well-being. As I conclude this chapter, I invite you to explore the magic of your own words. In the art of self-expression lies the key to liberation and boundless possibilities. May your journey be liberating and empowering. May you find your power and break the spell.