To aid your recovery and to make the process as easy and enjoyable (yes, believe it or not you can enjoy this journey) here are some steps you can follow to prepare yourself in advance:
If you are on any form of medication for anxiety, especially antidepressants, then it’s best not to reduce them whilst in recovery as this can cause side effects including (you guessed it) anxiety.
Having a support network in place is almost (but not quite) essential to your recovery. I managed to recover with very little support, but I wouldn’t advise this unless you have no choice.
All you need is one good friend, someone who will be available to reach out to as and when you need them. This should be someone who knows you well, someone you can trust, and who will not judge you. They must understand the process you are going through so giving them access to this program may be useful.
Speak to your employer and work colleagues and explain to them what you’re doing – as much as you’re able to, based on what kind of relationship you have and how understanding or supportive they are.
Since you’re using this course, you are already a member of the Anxiety Anonymous community. This is a great place to find support from other members who are going through the recovery process, or have been through it.
Partners & Family
Family and loved ones are often either too close to be able to give you the space needed, or too distant to give you the support you need. The best you can do sometimes is explain what you’re doing and give them access to the program so they can gain an understanding of the condition and the process.
Sleep & Routine
Establish a regular daily routine, as best you can depending on work and other commitments. The most important component of this is to have a regular bedtime. Getting as much sleep as possible will aid your recovery immensely. Don’t worry if you’re not sleeping well, since being in bed resting with your eyes closed is still restful – just don’t get agitated about not sleeping well, remember to treat yourself with compassion.
How badly do you want to recover?
As mentioned elsewhere, this is not going to be a particularly quick or easy process. Some are lucky and see an improvement very quickly, in as little as a few days in some cases. For most, though, it will take weeks if not months. The longer you have been ill and the more severe your condition, the longer it will take to rewire those anxious thought patterns. But, rest assured, if you are committed and prepared to put the work in, you will recover. Just follow the program, and I can assure you it will work.
The ego resists change
You may find your anxiety worsens as you work through the program, this is common and nothing to worry about. It actually means you’re making progress. The ego (the part of your mind that comprises your identity, who you are) resists change, since to the ego change means death and it will do anything to avoid that.
So, as you start challenging and reshaping what has become an integral part of your identity, you will meet some internal resistance. This can be anything from anxiety and unease to illness and other obstacles. The mind is a powerful thing, as we know all too well, so don’t be surprised when it gets creative in its efforts to resist change.