CW: discussions of panic attacks, OCD and self-doubt while recovering from mental illness
Today (or at least on the day I am writing this post), I had therapy. I see a therapist who specializes in OCD treatment, and I have gained so much from meeting with her. While it does seem like we have something new to talk about each session, I find myself always finding new ways to cope with my intrusive thoughts and compulsions, and she finds me ways to not seek reassurance for my thoughts and to think a bit more independently. In today's session, she said something that really stuck with me, and so I thought I would share.
When discussing one of my obsessions and compulsions, I lamented how it seems as if every time I get an intrusive thought, I am back to square one and I feel as if I will never be able to recover. My therapist responded with a quote that she had learned from another therapist, whose name escaped me in session, but she told me the quote is: "weak knees will still carry you across the room."
I had a chance to ponder this quotation for a bit, and I actually get a bit emotional thinking about it now. So many times when I am in a bad intrusive thoughts spell, or having a bad panic attack, I think that there is no possible way I can be able to pick myself back up and recover. But the funny thing is, every time I have been in that situation, I have always recovered. There have been times I have had to go to school during a panic attack because I couldn't miss the class. And although I am very uncomfortable at the beginning, my panic subsides after a while and I am able to listen in my classes. There have been times where I felt like I should just throw in the towel on an event, and not go because I think it'll just be too stressful for me. But then I do end up going and have a good time. My mind goes into this cycle of always thinking that there is no way out of the panic, but my weak knees always find a way to carry me across the room.
I liked that quote because it doesn't insinuate that everyone should just suck it up because we are stronger than our panic. The "weak knees" implies the acknowledgement of the disease, whether that be OCD, panic disorder, or something else. But it also encourages me personally to take things one step at a time, not try to fight the panic but instead try to simply float to the other side of the room; and soon, things will get better. I think this is a good way of thinking about recovery after a bad bought of mental illness, and is something that I hope I will continue to implement moving forward.
When it comes to my own personal therapy journey, I have not always been a big fan of inspirational quotes, meditation seminars, etc. But this simple quote did influence the way I look at my OCD and anxiety, and offered me a bit of hope during a tough time. I figured if this could help someone else, it is worth sharing.
I know that everyone copes with their mental illness in a different way. What may be helpful for one person may be a hinderance to another. I would never preach a certain way of treatment onto someone. However, if you like this quote, then I am glad to have shared it. And if anyone can trace down the origin for me; if not I will ask my therapist next session, I would appreciate it! I hope anyone else who currently has "weak knees" will make it across the room :)
Emily @ Paperback Princess