PROGRESS ON THE COMMITMENT

   Have you forgotten the commitment you made at the beginning of the year to work on your mental illness? Are you still working hard on it? Have you found it challenging?

   At times you have probably felt like giving up, but you couldn’t allow yourself to give in. You want to get better. You may have made small steps towards the light. Now is the time to take a look of how far you have come since you first made your commitment. Then celebrate your success no matter how small.

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   I made the commitment to work on my excessive worrying. Since I made this commitment ,I’ve had a very big event happen in my life. I had surgery on a detached tendon in my ankle. I was off work for four weeks and laid up. During that time I made some discoveries about the root of my worrying. I learned that my job causes a lot of my anxiety and stress. My anxiety leads to worrying. I made plans on how to handle my anxiety, stress, and worrying, but plans are not good until you put them to work.

   I returned to work February 20 with light duty and instructions to sit. Sitting and bagging puts more stress on my neck and shoulders. I have to sit far enough back from the register so my drawer opens. So I have to reach for groceries causing soreness in my back. My neck jammed up while I was off, and seems to be worse while bagging and stretching. I started to worry about having more problems that will put me out of work.

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   I journaled about my feelings and worries. When my mind started on an endless worry binge, I told myself to stop. Everything will be okay. I’ve already been through the worst. These aches and pains are not that bad. I went to my doctor about my neck and am doing physical therapy for it. When I was home and I started to think too much, I pulled out my adult coloring book. This helped to ease my weary mind.

   Then a woman stood at my register for fifteen minutes accusing me of stealing her check. I tried to convince her I did not take it, and when she wouldn’t go away I had to call a coordinator. Next while cashing out a customer’s check, the check shot out of the machine and fell down into the register. The only way to get to the check would be to tear apart the register. Again I started worrying about getting in trouble.

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   I talked to my husband about my worries. He listened to me and reassured me I would be fine. He even had me repeat several times, “I have nothing to worry about.” I did relaxation techniques and tried to keep my mind busy with my coloring and writing. I also listed positive things like I’m a good cashier, I’ve worked there twenty years and have not made any major mistakes, I’m lucky to have a job, I’m a good person, and I have done nothing wrong. These techniques helped and I did not get in trouble.

   I’m happy to report despite all that has happened, I have not had an anxiety attack since before my surgery. I have been able to ease my worries, I found out the causes of my worries and I am learning how to combat them. These are big steps to celebrate. I celebrated with a favorite snack and a dinner out with my husband.

   How far have you come with your commitment? Did you start going to therapy? Did you tell someone about your illness? Did you admit you have an illness? Each of these is a big step towards recovery. Now is the time to celebrate. Take a soothing bath, go to dinner, buy yourself something nice, or make yourself a special treat. Once you’re done celebrating, push on to the next steps. Keep to your commitment and you will reach the light.

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   I am determined to stick to my commitment. Times will get tough and I may slip, but I won’t give up. Since I’m willing to fight to take control of my worrying, I will continue to stand within the light.

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