“Group therapy? Is that like AA for psychos?”
For the past 10 weeks (literally, the last session was last night) I’ve been part of an ACT group for people who suffer with anxiety and depression. To say that it has been an amazing experience would be a grand understatement. this. shit. changed. my. life.
Only about 8 months (or so) ago did I get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. For all of my life I just assumed everyone else felt the same way I did, and that they were just better at dealing with it than I was. I have had some pretty shit life experiences, but way more great ones.
So, the group is called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for people with anxiety. The premise is to accept (duh) your anxiety, realize that it is not going to go away, but commit to living with it and seeing how you can in fact survive.
It was a group seven people from all walks of life, lead by one doctor. I didn’t realize how important it was to hear other people’s struggles and feelings about the same shit I’m feeling until I did. Every single session I found myself saying, “holy shit! I do that too!” and what a fab feeling that is. To know you’re not alone, and that you can learn something about yourself from just talking or listening to someone else.
I found that these six other people and I had more in common than just anxiety. We liked the same things, had kids, had blended families, had troubled relationships, hated our jobs, felt overwhelmed at work, and so on and so on. I really came to enjoy going to group every week just to hear about everyone else’s week and see how they dealt with their anxiety.
As mentioned above, our last session was last night. It was bittersweet, to say the least. I wish we could meet every Thursday forever, but there is only so much learning you can do before you just have to start doing it on your own. My takeaway from this experience is just, “so what?” So what your job sucks? You’re still alive. You’re employed. You have food on the table. So what you think those people don’t like you? Who cares! Why is their opinion of you greater than your opinion of yourself? I have found myself applying “so what” to almost every shit situation I find myself in. And that has helped me in more ways than I can count.
I love leaving work and not bringing my daily stressors home with me. I don’t want to be an anxious wreck at home while I’m trying to cook dinner, or help Cecelia with her homework. I don’t want to be the mom that can’t encounter conflict without flying off the handle. I want to be a calm, rational, fun mom. And I’ve found that since I’m taking the time to really focus on myself and my mental health, that I am a calm, rational, fun mom.