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I’ve never looked forward to anything.

I had this realization the other day, and it felt impossible, but the longer  I sat with it, the more

I felt it was true.

Maybe when I was very young there were moments of genuine excitement, but if there were, I don’t remember them.

What I remember is knowing it was safer to expect things to go wrong, to plan for disaster and to let my anxiety carefully guide the way.

Anxiety and excitement are two sides of the same coin. In our bodies they manifest exactly the same way, the only difference is the story that our minds play to accompany the feeling.

I’ve never told myself the story of what could go right, of how things could work out beautifully or of how much fun things could be.

The stories I’ve told myself have changed anticipation to dread. So many things that could go wrong. So many mistakes I could make.

Anxiety has robbed me of moments of joy, connection and anticipation, in exchange, it has given me countless sleepless nights and intense panic and dread.

Knowing the cost of worry is not new for me. I’ve known for years that worrying doesn’t help, but I’ve felt powerless to stop the fear that has been my closest companion for decades.

Suppressing anxiety just compounds it. Knowing that my anxiety makes things worse, has made me more anxious about my anxiety. It has seemed an impossible loop to break.

Until now.

Now, I’ve been doing an online brain retraining program called the Gupta program for about a month. It’s a program designed to help people with chronic illnesses heal and regain a normal life.

I entered the program as a skeptic, trying to be an optimist. I read independent reviews and many stories of people who regained their lives from brain retraining. But, I hardly dared to believe it could help me.

And now, a month in, I’m more optimistic than I’ve felt in years. I’ve even allowed myself to set the bar higher on my recovery than I have at any other time.

I don’t just want to get enough energy to make it through the day. I want to get better. To be completely healthy and able to engage in anything I want to do.

I haven’t dared to want this in as long as I can remember. From the time I was a kid, I was the one who was sick all the time, was too thin, too sensitive. Always needed to be careful.

This program has helped me see flickers of an entirely different way of being. It has made me think that by retraining the patterns I have set up for myself, I could learn to look forward to things. I could be excited.

It’s offering me a future, but it isn’t a miracle pill.

The program is work. Hard, sometimes uncomfortable work. 

Among other things, it involves meditating for 20-30 minutes twice a day and it involves catching problematic thought patterns and retraining them, over and over and over and over again.

The program doesn’t offer to fix anything for me. Instead, it offers me the tools I can use to find health and happiness. It gives me a chance to consciously be the maker of my thoughts. 

In my life I have written many stories. Stories that are thirty words long and stories that are a hundred thousand words long. Stories of adventure, of tragedy and of hope. I have told funny stories and stories filled with suspense.

But, it wasn’t until now that I realized that I could consciously rewrite my own story. I can choose the thoughts I think. I can choose the path I take. I am ready for the next chapter to begin.

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