You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf. When I think about the pattern of my own mental health, I think about it in terms of waves. There are times when the tide is high and the waves come crashing in, and there are other times when the tide is low and the waves are calm. After I overcame my first battle with anxiety, I thought I was cured. I thought, “great, I had anxiety, now I feel better, so now I no longer have it”. The thing about anxiety is it’s not that simple. The notion of being cured of my anxiety was the wishful thinking of a naïve child. Needless to say my anxiety resurfaced. The first time it resurfaced I was sad. I was sad because I thought I was cured and I didn’t want to accept the fact that this was something that I was going to have to take on again After a little while, I realized that this was simply something I was going to have to deal with, I changed my mindset and focused on the fact that I had overcome my anxiety before, so I could surely do it again. And guess what? I did. I was able to overcome it for a second time. This time I learned a valuable lesson. Anxiety is not a battle you will fight one time. It will come back. There will be good times, and there will be tough times. Armed with this lesson I was ready for it to pop back up in my life here and there. I was no longer surprised when the tide would rise and life would get hard again.
There are times when the tide is high and the waves come crashing in, and there are other times when the tide is low and the waves are calm
I like the wave metaphor because it is one that helps me maintain perspective. With it in mind I am always prepared for a rising tide because I know that things will inevitably get hard and I will have to battle the anxiety or depression. I also know that a high tide will always recede. I know that whatever I am going through at a particular time will not last forever. Anxiety and depression will come and go. There are times when things will get better and there are times when things will get worse. I’ve found that there are a few important things to keep in mind when I am battling with mental health. First, whatever I am going through will not last forever. I was happy once, calm once, and I will be those things again. Second, the battles will come. There will be days that are going to be harder than others. I know that I will struggle again, but it’s less about the struggle and more about how I react to it. It’s less about the waves and more about if I am willing to let myself surf.