"How do you know you're doing better than before?"

Last week was an emotional roller-coaster. I spent the majority of the week having panic attacks at random times, such was the intensity of my anxiety. Even now, I still feel pretty sick a lot of the time, because stress hormones are a**holes that storm in, do their damage, and leave again. So I'm still recovering.

When all's said and done, though, I'm aware that I'm still better than I was previously. There are two reasons for this:

1) The intensity of the anxiety I was feeling last week was worse than it's ever been, despite the fact that in reality, the level of my anxiety was no higher than what I've been living with for 6 years. The only logical reason I can think of for that is that it's no longer my "normal". I'm no longer used to walking through each day as a ball of anxiety. So when anxiety does hit for extended periods of time, it hits me, hard, and it leaves me in a heap on the floor. The thing to remember is, I'm feeling it so hard in exchange for more happiness and calmness the rest of the time. I honestly think it's a pretty fair exchange.

2) Even through the panic attacks and tears of last week, there was a strange undercurrent that I'm not used to feeling. Normally when I'm anxious or depressed, those things are all I feel. Last week, though, there was an undercurrent of happiness. It was strange, but it was a little like the feeling I got when I started therapy this year and thought "I may just get through this. There might be a finish line in sight." It's a feeling of hope.

At the end of my Fixers video on anxiety, there's a line that people always stop and remark on. "What harm can hope do?" It's for that reason that I'm clinging onto the undercurrent of happiness while I'm fighting off the anxiety and kicking depression when it nips at my ankles. Without hope, this website wouldn't be here. Without hope, I wouldn't be here.