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How would you feel if your therapist said this?

I was discussing dating and my intimidation with men. How I want to date but don't feel enough.. due to my issues. I liked she Said I don't need to heal all my Issues or be Perfect to date. That men will have issues too. But then She said "You have a lot of anxiety. You may always have it. It is who you are.. "
On one hand i get she meant to kind oF not be ashamed of my disorder. But on the Other hand it is not who I AM. It is a result of trauma and not truly me. I just let it go but not sure how to Feel...how might you feel?
It would probably sting a little. I’d say she used a poor choice of words when she said, “it is who you are.” I’d have preferred her to have said, “it may always be a part of you.” And then gone on to discuss how your anxiety doesn’t have to be a deterrent to dating and ways to effectively manage it.

I’d talk to her about this at your next session.
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@OlderSometimesWiser and even "you may always have it" felt defeating. She definitely was on the side of not letting anxiety be any reason I shouldn't date..and I was grateful . (Just like when you also said its ok to date even if I have issues). But the line o f "its who you are " made me think..no it is not truly.
@Coralmist Gotcha, but I’d still say it’s progress that you recognize anxiety is not who you are. You’re so much more than that lady, I’ve seen it for myself right here at SW. 🙂
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@OlderSometimesWiser I remember a quote by Eckhart Tolle.."Anything you can say ABOUT you, iS not you." I really liked that. Thanks so much for your words 💜
SinlessOnslaught · 26-30, M
I understand what you're saying. You want to separate yourself from your anxiety because it reassures that you can defeat it. And I'm sure your therapist understands that too.

Language is an abstract thing. I think what she meant is you are who you are right now, in the moment. And right now you're a person who suffers from anxiety. That doesn't mean you won't be a "you" who doesn't suffer from anxiety in the future.

I think you should bring this up to her and tell her exactly what you just told us.
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@SinlessOnslaught Thanks for your reflective reply🌺
ninalanyon · 61-69, T
@SinlessOnslaught @Coralmist [quote]I think you should bring this up to her and tell her exactly what you just told us.[/quote]
I think this might be the most important point. So many of us spend so much of our lives not saying what we mean or not saying anything at all.
SinlessOnslaught · 26-30, M
@ninalanyon Thanks
CrazyMusicLover · 31-35
I might not understand the entire context but I'd feel fear, resentment and hopelessness. It sounds as if she was saying there's no help for you and that whatever you do, you can't get rid of anxiety and you just have to learn to live some sort of limited life because of it. And I wouldn't accept that for myself. A certain level of anxiety is normal but if it gets in the way of what you really want in your life, then going to the therapist means that you're there to get rid of it, change your thought patterns, deep-rooted beliefs that harm you, processing emotions etc. This acceptance approach makes sense to me when physical limits are the problem, for example the hearing loss, neurodegenerative diseases and so on but in case of psychological issues, I am not so sure the personality traits, temperament or how we process emotions are so fixed and unchangeable things. If I was supposed to accept "this is who I am", she would have to explain it to me on an objectively provable physical limit, like abnormal activity in some part of the brain, faulty release of stress hormones or something like this. Even then there are theories that support the idea of neuroplasticity.

I have a friend who is a psychologist and she told me they were taught that the startle response is something genetic and unchangeable but my own experience is that it changes for me depending on my overall physical health, how much I sleep, how much I eat, what is the situation etc. When I'm sleep deprived, anemic, hungry and what not, being startled feels like being kicked in the chest and it takes longer to calm down my heart rate, if I'm healthy, feeling good, I might jerk/freeze, heart rate increases and gets back to normal quite fast. So idk..

By the way, there is some French movie about people with severe anxiety searching for partners but unfortunately, I don't remember the name. Maybe it was Blind Date (2016) but I'm not sure.
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@CrazyMusicLover That is how I felt..hopeless. Because PTSD or anxiety is not the person themselves. Perhaps she MEANT it is a part of me..but said, it is who you are. And that is correct I dont only want to cope with it..I want to at least find strategies to try to be rid of it. To find a different way of thinking..a new blueprint. She said for me to find ways of managing it, which is good too, but I am unsure if she will go deeper with me to really CHANGE how the trauma affected me. Most don't go deeper and don't ask many questions...I have to bring up most things...but you're there for them to dig TOO.
I do enjoy her positive thoughts though that I don't have to be anything, to date. So will see how it goes. Thanks friend 🪻
itsok · 31-35, F
I completely get why that would be upsetting to you.
I wonder if she meant it more like- you have anxiety now, and you need to include anxiety in your planning and goals?
Mentioning that you may always have it (I truly hope that’s not true and you get relief) just meant that making plans for when you’re “better” isn’t a good way to plan for the future, because the you now [i]does[/i] experience anxiety.

Have you ever done any ACT therapy? I was very resistant to it when I started, because it seemed like the opposite of what I should’ve been doing, but it ended up helping me immensely
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@itsok She could have meant it that way..ty my friend. I think that could be the case for "you may always have it"..but the "Its who you are" made me feel small. What is ACT therapy?
itsok · 31-35, F
@Coralmist I’m so sorry. I don’t think it’s who you are.

Acceptance and commitment therapy. It helps you stop fighting against things that you struggle with. Not in an “I’m not going to work on this” way, but more of a “I’m going to accept that this is part of my life right now” way
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@itsok I had not heard of that..Will look into it. Thank you 🌻 Is it a special type therapist or do many know it?
BlueVeins · 22-25
I get why she said it, but I also get why it was upsetting.
I’m Australian.. I’d buy beer not a therapist.. 🤔
AccursedAlexander3 · 31-35, M
I think it’s perfectly natural to be nervous around someone you’re attracted to, especially if you don’t know how they feel about you. I imagine royalty and celebrities and other rich people still get nervous meeting people they’re fans of, so nothing to be ashamed of. I personally hate therapy. I go currently, not happy to admit it, mostly for family, but I do it, and it makes my family more comfortable. Bit of a side note, that, but what I’m trying to say is be yourself. I smoke weed, and that usually helps with my anxiety. I’d let it go, if I were in your shoes, maybe smoke some weed on my next date, if I’m still feeling anxious or nervous, and if it’s problematic for them, end it. Or maybe for me, since I don’t know how anxious you personally feel. Make sense?
Dolimyte · 41-45, M
I think it was ment as, it's part of who you are, not it defines who you are. It seems like you were just being encouraged to radically accept that you are going to be anxious because waiting until you 'get over it' is an unrealistic goal.
SW-User
I wouldn’t think of it or worry too much. Maybe she meant that you might always have it IF that’s the kind of person you are. Some people can overcome their problems, while others can’t. I’d give her the benefit of the doubt that she didn’t mean to call you weak, hopeless, or anything like that.

I think she was giving you the green light to put yourself out there, despite your anxiety. It’s like she meant to say that if you’re feeling too anxious to date, then maybe you won’t date at all. With that being said, you SHOULD go date even with all the issues you may have since men have issues too.
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@SW-User Ty Deth🦋
TexChik · F
Push back against it . If he really likes you he will be honored that you are nervous on your date. After the second date you might find yoyr comfort zone. Dates are always stressful
sarabee1995 · 26-30, F
In once sense we are all the sum total of our experiences. But no one single experience defines us. Big experiences can change us for sure, but they integrate with the rest of who and what we are and are tempered by that.

So, no, you are not your anxiety. It is the result of your experiences. And it has become a part of who you are today not the totality of who you are. But you can build positive experiences and limit the anxiety's share of your future self.

🫂
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@sarabee1995 Thank you for your reflective reply Sara🐞
In a way, your anxiety probably always will be a part of you... just like your left hand or your right ear.

At the same time, I can see why "It is who you are" could sting a bit... I mean, none of us are the total sum of whatever ailments we have and he choice of wording could have been better thought out to reflect that it will likely always be a PART of you rather than making it sound like the grand sum of "who you are".
Penny · 46-50, F
free? free to fill your head up with more positive thoughts (like meaning if you truly just let your anxiety go)

also, maybe she was just being observant by saying that and not actually saying your stuck with this crippling anxiety. i think she sounds like a good therapist that makes you think
Allelse · 36-40, M
It's not who I am and it doesn't define me. If somebody ran me over and I ended up in a wheelchair, the chair wouldn't define me and it wouldn't be who I am, but it would create obstacles in my life I wouldn't be able to ignore and I'd have to learn to adapt to.
exchrist · 31-35
I take most things calmly one of my issues actually. Nothing seems to bother me. Similarly she might be trying go get u to consider the opposite perspective to put your views of yourself more into context. My therapist does this with me too.
Iwillwait · M
I think you will have to make a decision as to, if and when, you're going to feel comfortable enough to try dating. It's totally ok, if you're not ready and it's totally ok if you try a few dates and decide, it's not for you.
SW-User
Your anxiety is not who you are. It does not define you as a person as a whole. I am not my mental illness.....it'll always be there.....but, you can heal from it. Don't allow her to say that to you. My therapist would never say such a thing.
Convivial · 26-30, F
I think i would agree with you... It would be like getting a builder in to fix a leaking roof and he agrees the roof is leaking but also says there's nothing that can be done about it
Pfuzylogic · M
While her responses might not be perfect it is obvious to me that she cares for you and what happens as a result of therapy. You are actually fortunate.
uncalled4 · 56-60, M
She probably should have said that it's an aspect of who you are, as is the case with millions. Probably billions.

I have zero problem with admitting that anxiety will always be part of who I am, and yet I have learned to [i]manage[/i] it to the point it no longer affects my life in any significant way.

It's not as if one day the clouds will part and you will be anxiety-free, because that's not realistic, and that is what I'll bet your therapist meant and did not want to promise you something she can't deliver.

Ironically, it sounds like anxiety might have been what caused your sensitivity to that in the first place. At the root of some of that is the Give A Shit factor, which diminishes greatly over time, so you have that going for you.

Don't be afraid to ask for clarity, or even challenge her if you feel like you're off in the wrong direction. Nothing wrong with that happening occasionally. And, I actually like that for you, like part of your "voice" that was trodden on by narcissists can come to life and you will see the amazing effect it has.

I probably disagree with 90% of everything I've read of Tolle. His wannabe philosophy only goes down well at the bottom of a Hallmark card.
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@uncalled4 Thanks for your thorough response. That is a great point..it can be a part of our life but not BE our life. And I truly do need to start using my voice even if it means ever disagreeing. It is not human to just never disagree and I am living like that..never voicing my opinion too. Ty again.
PatKirby · M
Sometimes you just gotta let some things go.

travelguy01 · 41-45, M
There is no magic cure for anxiety. Everyone goes through cycles of feelings regularly, and some more intensely than others. There is no reason to be ashamed of yourself or your feelings, they are part of you. All you can do is accept who you are, and try to forgive those who harmed you in your past...they aren't harming you anymore, it is in the past, it cannot be changed, and there is no good to be found in revenge. Freedom starts with forgiveness.

You may well have sudden thoughts pop into your head which trigger a lot of anxiety, and all you can do is accept that this is happening, and find healthy ways to manage it. Remind yourself of the truth...it's in the past now. It won't be easy, but it's really all you can do if you want to move forward.
Then I’d retort…”there’s no such thing as a therapist. It’s all about semantics ?
Coralmist · 41-45, F
@soar2newhighs Is this in reference to my reply about panic attacks to another user?
@Coralmist Yes. And I’m very familiar with “panic attacks”
LordShadowfire · 100+, M
I think I would feel the same as you. I don't think of myself as being my anxiety, or my depression, or my whatever. It's part of me, but it's not me.
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Coralmist · 41-45, F
@WonderGirl no such thing as panic attacks???? What???🙁

 
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