First, let me define a dark thought of mine for you. I have moments when I am doing everything I can to try to be stronger than my anxiety and nothing is working. When I try to exercise, pray, meditate, read positive affirmations, practice breathing and try not to run, I end up failing.
These are moments that lead up to dark thoughts. When I can’t walk my dog to the end of my street because a month ago I had a panic attack in “that spot” and it came out of nowhere. This is a moment that leads up to my dark thoughts. When I text my husband to come into the store with me while he was waiting in the car because I feel anxious. This leads up to my dark thoughts.
My dark thoughts don’t happen in the midst of my anxiety. They happen after the fact. When I’m sitting on my bathroom floor crying and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t be stronger than those situations. My dark thoughts are the lies my mind tells me that I am a loser and I will never get through this. My dark thoughts are the times I think I am a burden to everyone and I might be better off not here.
In those darkest times, I remind myself of all the things I have done in spite of having anxiety. I make a list of all these things I have done that some people even without anxiety are too afraid to do.
These are things like:
I have flown on a plane and went to another country.
I went for my motorcycle license.
I chaired a conference of 400 people.
I fought cancer and went through two major surgeries.
I continue my list and I write as many things as I can think of. These were times I know I have faced fear in the face and won. I have bad days. I have bad weeks and I have even had bad months. I have also had good days, weeks and months. As long as I still have those good days, I know I’m going to be OK.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.