Starting anything can be hard. Starting school. Starting a relationship. Starting a new activity. Starting a journey. It all brings challenges, and those challenges can be what stops people from starting in the first place.
The challenges of not knowing will happen with it.
The challenge of not knowing what it will be like.
The challenge of looking like a fool.
The challenge of being surrounded by new people.
The challenge of lacking knowledge.
The challenge of feeling like a burden.
The challenge of leaving your comfort zone.
These are just a few of the examples. Anxiety has me list every possible thing that could go wrong. Depression takes away any motivation for starting in the first place. It’s a constant battle I face every day. Below are four ways that help me start something new even when struggling with anxiety and depression.
1. Sometimes it’s just a forced action.
Forcing myself to get out the door and doing it anyway. Sometimes I need an incentive – such as putting down money for a class that I can’t get back if I don’t go. Sometimes it’s helping me get somewhere else. Sometimes it’s just trying to ignore the words of anxiety and depression, and getting out there.
When I signed up for an ice climbing class, I not only put money down that I couldn’t get back, I still had to force myself. I wanted to bail so badly. I wanted not to be scared. I wanted to stay safe. I didn’t want to meet new people. I didn’t want to feel like an idiot. But I forced myself to go. I forced myself to walk in the door. I forced myself to get the gear. I forced myself to find my group. I forced myself to try ice climbing when I wanted just to go home. It’s hard. It took a lot of practice to be able to do this.
2. Using my support system
Sometimes when I want to try something new, someone I am close with already does it or also wants to try it. In the case where they already do it, I try to do it the first time with them. So I always wanted to try backpacking, but I have always been too scared. The first time I went was with my boyfriend and a group of close friends. That helped ease my anxiety a little bit because I was with people I trusted.
If I’m not doing the new activity with someone in my support system, I can still use them. They still encourage me. When I did my ice climbing class with no one I knew, I had my boyfriend encouraging me and supporting me. Knowing that he was there for me, helped me immensely.
So use your support system in whatever way you can. Have them help you. Have them encourage you. Only you can make a move to start something new, but they can help you along the way.
3. Understanding I’m not alone
This seems like such a simple concept, but it can seem so foreign if you are struggling with anxiety and depression. It convinces you that you are the only one who is nervous. You are the only starting something. You are the only one who is going to make a mistake. But everyone had to start somewhere. Even the Olympic athletes. Even scholars. Every marriage. Every friendship. Everything started one day. I can assure you that none of these were perfect on the first day. Learning takes time. Learning takes mistakes.A lot of people start something new. A lot of people are nervous. It’s part of the process. You are not alone in this. I usually need to remind myself a few times when I’m starting.
Every time I make a mistake, I assure myself that I am not the first one making a mistake. I’m not the first one starting this.
4. Knowing the risk is worth it in the long run.
If you don’t start anything, you will go where you have always been. You will never grow. You will never have new experiences. You will never learn. Starting is scary, but it can also bring you to new places. It can bring you to places that you never thought you would be. If will have you doing things that you never thought you could do. Starting something just lets you see something different about yourself. It enables you to see that you are more than what your anxiety and depression tells you that you are.
It’s never easy to start something. There are going to be times when none of these tips work, and you just can’t do it that day. You have to forgive yourself and keep moving forward. Starting can bring up new emotions that you may not be used to and it can push you into a whirlwind. Just stay steady and try again. Know that you are worth it. You are worthy of starting something. It may not always work out, but at least you started and that’s something to be proud of.
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