A turbulent disturbance
How to navigate through the ups and downs of anxiety disorder recovery
By Stacey Ellertson; B.Th, MA.CM, MA.LM, PACCP Certified.
Anxiety Coach/Counselor - Aug 24, 2015
I have worked with several pilots (private, military and commercial) over the years. Hard to believe but they too struggle with problematic anxiety. Recently, one of my clients, a commercial airline pilot wanted to know how to deal with setbacks. Those times when your anxiety symptoms seemingly come from out of nowhere and for no reason. Then there are those times when you will be facing obvious stress and are confident you will experience symptoms. If you are in the process of recovery, here is an approach that might help you deal with setbacks.
I asked my client how he and other pilots deal with bad weather. Do they turn the plane around and go home, fearful of the storm? “Absolutely not” he said, “we are more alert than usual, and accept the reality of the weather. We plot a way around or through the storm. “ Then he said something amazing, “We don’t let the plane fly us. We fly the plane.” Think about that statement for a minute. The statement highlights the importance of confidently trusting their skills to properly fly the plane through the storm.
No pilot is completely confident from the beginning. Confidence is a process of repetition and reinforcement. It simply does not happen over night. Your process of recovery is no different. The information presented on www.anxietycentre.com and in therapy takes time to adopt, practice and trust. If you keep at it and practice your recovery skills, eventually you will gain confidence and be able to weather the storms ahead in your life. Adversity is the only way to overcome your insecurities and fears.
Preparing ourselves to weather the storm is one thing. But what happens when we hit turbulence and there isn’t any obvious storm? It can be disturbing.
Pilots and frequent fliers alike come to accept that turbulence is an unfortunate reality of flight. It is unreasonable to expect every flight to be a perfectly smooth ride. It is equally unrealistic to expect recovery to be a smooth predictable process. So, what do we do? We tolerate the discomfort, use our recovery skills, and ride it out….every time.
You are the pilot of your life. Fly your plane. Do not let it fly you. Weather the storms ahead and when you hit turbulence, stay calm, use your training, and ride it out. Recovery can be a bumpy ride.But I assure you, when you use your newfound anxiety recovery skills, you will land safely every time.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated January 1, 2019.