When someone has lived with anxiety for a long time, it is often difficult to imagine a life without it. The desire for change however is strong along with eagerness and impatience. “How long will it take” or “how many sessions do I need to do” are very common questions, to which there is no simple answer.
SMT is a very personal process – it can be slow or fast; it can be easy for some, more challenging for others. Even one individual can experience these differences at various times. And almost inevitably, everyone will experience a setback of some description. This will differ from person to person depending on what he or she is dealing with; a common response for some however is to lose heart, to be disappointed, to become doubtful of one’s ability to overcome anxiety, or perhaps even to revert to old patterns.
These setbacks are understandable responses to change; the old part of ourself, who is used to anxious feelings and reactions is suddenly feeling ‘different’, even better. The only way it knows how to respond is the ‘old way’ – tension, panic, stress – the very things we set out to overcome in the first place. To this, there is a simple answer: patience and perseverance.
Trust yourself, believe in your ability to overcome anxiety, persevere with your practice and seek support from your SMT facilitator. Understand that setbacks are OK. You can overcome them and get back on track. Imagine if you were planting a vegetable garden; you would take every care to prepare the soil, select the best seeds and seedlings and start your planting; before soon you will be watching with joy little shoots coming through, fragile green leaves with the promise of a rich harvest; but suddenly an unexpected frost, or wild winds, or garden pests, interfere with all your good work, and you have suffered a setback. But you don’t abandon your garden; you safeguard against these setbacks and you start again – patiently.