You can't overcome anxiety, addiction or depression without allowing yourself to, first, go outside of the box... a bunch.  People often emotionally limp into my office and look at me as if I have all the answers, thinking I have some magic word/pill that will set them on their feet again - without their effort.  One confused fella in rehab looked at me as he left my office saying, "Doc, you have 20 days to fix me."  I said, "Huh… Patient, you have 20 days to fix yourself.  Best of luck to ya!"

Currently, I'm reading a business book called Good to Great written by Jim Collins.  There's a chapter in it talking about how the companies that go from "good to great" get really good at facing the brutal facts of their business's reality.  They don't pretend that everything's okay when business is clearly not. They accept the facts - some employees aren't working out; we're spending money in the wrong places; this department needs new management, etc - (as brutal as they can be) and plan from there.  With any company turnaround, the very first thing that has to happen before a new environment can ensue, is this: a leader has to be courageous enough to face reality and do what's necessary (whatever that may be) for the sake of the company's future.

Like an emerging business, recovering from anxiety requires courageous, brutal acceptance, too. Brutal acceptance of an oftentimes harsh reality. To about face the beast of toxic anxiety, we have to have the courage to get done what needs to be done.  We absolutely cannot get better if we don't, first, face our reality.

If you're telling yourself the following statements, it's likely you're misleading yourself (not facing a brutal existence, perhaps):

  • “It's really not that bad” (when it most certainly is).

  • “I'm over it” (when you're clearly not).

  • “After all, everyone has their struggles.”

  • “It doesn't matter much anyway.”

  • “I already have the answers” (no need for other's input).

  • “It's all gonna work out” (if it's clearly not).

In my office, I often tell clients that at any given time they can tell me the "brutal facts" about what I may be doing that's unhelpful in our sessions.  I've learned that if I don't have the humility to allow for correction, it's not polite to ask my clients to invite me into what's "off" about their lives.  If I don't first create space for them to hone in on what may be "off" with me and my counseling performance, I have no right to ask them to face the toughest parts of themselves.

Anxiety can be a distraction from (or an alert to) an unattended reality.  As we continue to avoid the facts, life can become a series of one anxious episode after another.  If, however, we don't run, and we address the tougher issues, instead, toxic anxiety tends to go to the back of the bus in our lives--a thing of the past.

Before toxic anxiety can heal, a clean sweep has to take (and continue to take) place in our hearts.  

What am I NOT dealing with?

Is it that I haven't forgiven, let go of,  spent enough time with, respected someone else?  

Is it that I haven't worked through trauma, abuse, a divorce, neglect, etc.?

Whatever the case, things have to be dealt with.  Collins says that good-to-great companies faced the brutal facts and deal with them, while the comparison companies he studied did not.  They glazed over the grim truth to keep the peace or to not make waves. All the while remaining just good, not great...

And for you?


For help in Colorado Springs call 719-433-1407

(The information included on this site/article IS NOT an attempt to provide counseling/therapy or any other form of professional treatment, not even a bit.  In no way is it intended or should it be implied to substitute counseling/therapy or any other professional services. Also, while the content of this site/article could be based off real life circumstances, people (clients), names and situations have been changed to protect the identity/confidentiality of the person.  If you think you know them, think again. Each client has also signed a release to allow the therapist to write about their situation for educational [not therapy] purposes only. If you need professional help, and/or have mental health questions, by golly, seek out a professional and your family deserve it! )