To me, this site can be a wonderful tool in our, overall, healing path. It can only be part of our process of moving towards some lasting peace...it can not be our main source of comfort, ultimately. Eventually, we - ourselves - have to learn how to reassure ourselves, majorly, in our everyday lives. Of course, there can be a time where a source, such as The AZ, might provide the bulk of our solace and reassurances and, to me, this shouldn't be contrued as something 'bad', at any given time, per se. The peeps here, on The AZ, are scattered all over the spectrum of healing. Some are doing well, some very well, some fair, some not so good, some floundering a bit, some seeking a boost to get back on track, some struggling, some struggling mightily, some coming nearly unglued, etc. Some are newbies to the 'world of anxiety disorder / health anxiety'. Some are a couple years in. Some are ol' veterans. Some have just recently hit a setback (regardless of how long they have had their respective issues). Tough to paint, with a broad stroke, the picture of who should be here seeking out reassurances or not. We have all been in a place during our trials where we have felt compelled to seek out reassurances - felt scared - and we have done so. There is not a HA / AD person who has not sought out panicked reassurances.
That said, seeking continued reassurances is counterproductive to a longerterm, viable healing path. By continuing to ask other people if we are going to be OK in life never allows us the opportunity to become the major definer of our, overall, well-being. I said 'overall well-being' as Health Anxiety / Hypochondria tends to bleed over into MANY facets of our lives and it creates serious lifeflow interruptions that extend well beyond the boundaries of concerns (fears) over our health and disease. It can permeate into relationships, finances, education, work / careers, social activities, parenting, etc. There are truly no limits to where health anxiety / anxiety can interfere in our lifeflow. Serious stuff. Life enjoyment stuff! So no wonder we feel compelled to seek out reassurances, when struggling - when scared about our future and our life (and worried about the well-being of our loved ones). Protect me! Protect me! Protect me! We feel so freakin' compelled to protect.
So, my hope (and this has been said, as well, by others here on The AZ) would be that by coming here to The AZ we would find some comfort, first and foremost, in knowing that we are not alone in our trials (as we often feel, especially in the beginning times of our journey). It is incredibly scary and traumatic not really knowing what is going on in our body and minds, when we are in the infancy, so to speak, of interracting with HA / ADs. It is surreal (though VERY real). It is beyond frightening (though most of us didn't even know why we were really frightened). To fear dying (at OUR levels:) is something that is tremendously difficult to grasp. Being in turmoil, with our OWN mind and body, is nearly unfathomable to those who have not walked in our shoes (no blame, really, to them, though:). So, to have a place to come to tell our story, to find compassionate peeps and an empathetic ear and, hopefully, get some gentle guidance in the 'right' direction is invaluable, IMHO. But, I don't think anyone is really disputing this value of The AZ:)
Reassurance seeking happens. My other main hope is that those who come to The AZ will be able to accept, eventually (and sooner than later), that seeking out continued reassurances is counterproductive to their lasting peace. Our lifelong journey with our mental health challenges will, overwhelmingly, be a 'bumpier road' if we cannot find the resolve - somehow / someway - to not seek out a whole lot of reassurances. In reality we don't need many reassurances in life - we only believe we do - and this is driven by anxiety, mainly. And, when we are struggling to the levels very often seen here on The AZ, this anxiety driven reassurance seeking can become pervasive (and destructive).
As fellow strugglers, it seems we can be pretty darn good (as it has been shown here on The AZ) at letting peeps know that they are getting locked up in a current fear cycle and that they are seeking out a lot of reassurances (often for the same issue). We do it kindly, most often - though 'tough love' can be a wonderful thing, at times, IMHO:) And, as we know, we tend to be able to help others better than we can help ourselves. That panicked face looking back in the mirror is the hardest person to get to accept:)
Learn from others' experiences. Learn from those who have been able to find a way to some better lasting relief and solace and peace. Ultimately, we have to learn that we we cannot continue to seek out reassurances if we want to live in much better accord alongside our anxiety challenges. And, we CAN learn how to live so very well alongside them:) Seeking reassurances is part of the process. It is intertwined with, eventually (hopefully:), accepting that it is anxiety / health anxiety / mental health challenges that are creating a majority of our lifeflow interruptions. Through acceptance there is the potential for peace. Through our actions and habits we tremendously enhance (or diminish) this potential. Our actions and habits sooooooooo matter:)
Coming to The AZ for reassurances is OK, to me, within reason. Who is to say what is "within reason"? Well, I actually feel we, as a collective group of helpers, really have a pretty decent grasp as to what might be "too much". In my 3 years here, I have seen The AZ gently guide MANY peeps away from seeking out continued reassurances...or at least we have attempted (with compassion - overwhelmingly) to do so. As a collective group, IMHO, we know quite a bit about anxiety.....hell, we have lived it!:) And, as a whole, there are enough peeps, here, who are doing pretty well in their own trials to be able provide help (say "ENOUGH", kindly of course:) to those that are currently really struggling....and seeking out conterproductive, near continual reassurances.
Anxiety peeps have to 'live it' before they can 'help it'. To me, the most powerful potential that The AZ holds is that, hopefully, somebody who is coming here to help themselves find some relief (and guidance, maybe) will attempt to embrace acceptance (instead of the staus quo of denial and turmoil). And, that they will attempt to embrace this SOONER than later because of the wonderfully compassionate and empathetic and experienced and insightful and intelligent and varied and caring peeps here on THE AZ!!!!!:)
The AZ being a "nice" place for anxiety peeps (which it IS, IMHO:) will never, ever change the fact that continued seeking of reassurances will never, ever foster a viable longerterm healing path. Never, ever. You (whoever is reading this) will NOT be 'the one' who can do this. I thought I was 'the one'....turns out I was wrong as hell, too:) 'Recovery' is a process. Seeking reassurances is part of that process. We have to 'live it' before we can learn to 'help it'. Live it shorter.....Help it sooner:)
Keep in mind, we will likely always be 'living it' to some degree or another. But, anxiety does NOT have to define you (not even close)....it doesn't have to dominate you (not even close).
We can learn to live soooooooo very well, despite................................ .:)
The AZ can't 'cure'.....but it sure can help:) Ultimately, the 'heavy lifting' will have to be done by ourselves (each of us). And, we can do this. And, with time and patience and acceptance and longterm commitments, the load can get lighter and lighter and lighter:)
Peace and Feel Well:)