Posted on 1 September 2016 by Michael Dahl

Affording myself kindness, patience, and understanding.

“Michael, why can’t you show yourself the same kindness, patience, and understanding you would afford someone else experiencing Anxiety or a panic attack?”

Zing! Lesson number one of three from yesterday’s visit with my therapist.

A lump started growing in my throat. I was almost ready to start sobbing.


My therapist looked at me with a facial expression conveying, “That was not a rhetorical question.”

Me with a cracking voice, “Because I want to present the best me possible.”

“In those moments, Michael, maybe that is your best!”

More silence as I tried to both wrap my head around the lesson while trying to wiggle myself out and still expect more.

The immediately following conversation is hazy to me. All I can say is that she talked about how I process things intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

And my answers were well thought out in the intellectual and physical sense. But emotionally, I had to be okay with not always winning against Anxiety … in private and in public.

Intellectually, I would say that there’s a certain integrity I need to afford myself — affording yourself “integrity” seems like the wrong word since it’s usually a presented as a responsibility. But what I mean is that I need to find a way to show integrity and congruence: If I believe certain things are true and acceptable for others who suffer from Anxiety, I have to find ways to do so for myself.

This … this is going to take a lot of thought and feeling.

Stay tuned — on this and the other two lessons.