Today I made a step to pushing through the anxiety, it wasn’t easy, but I am now laid on the settee and feel like I have had a massive victory!

As I wrote in a previous post, lockdown has been tough, for many it is a huge negative and yet for me, it enabled me to do something I have wanted to do for decades.

I started attending Shabbat services. I have put it off again and again, and a large part of that is my mental health, I have suffered from Anxiety for so long that I have forgotten how to think as I once did and the fear of walking into a very unfamiliar environment was too much.

Along came Covid-19 and even though we were forced to stay at home, the world became more accessible.

All of a sudden, Zoom was the platform that everyone was using to work, to socialise and to attend religious services and this was my moment, the chance I had been waiting for and so in December I emailed Rabbi Warren Elf who I had first emailed 12 or 13 years ago and said I am ready to make that leap.

My fears of walking, well rolling into a Synagogue and it being like the Western films where the piano goes quiet, people stop talking and turn and stare was proven to be all in my head. In fact the welcome, even though it was online, it was warmer than I could have ever hoped.

Of course eventually the world started to unlock its doors and the door to the Shul was also opened up for services and so I attended my first Shabbat Service. My wife attended with me, she knows how anxious I get and she wanted to be there with me for support.

Unfortunately, I then had a few months of very poor health and so today is the first time that I have been back to the Shul since, and that is 6 months.

6 Months!

I knew I wanted to go, but then the anxiety started to build. I got, well I call it spiky, I just feel off, it is horrible and the closer I get to the event, the worse it gets.

However, my desire to attend was strong and I kept pushing the anxiety back.

This time I was solo, Donna dropped me off and I went on my own and again the welcome was very warm. Even though this is a venue that I have only previously been in once before, it feels right, it feels like I should be there and that helps.

A face mask doesn’t!

When Covid-19 first hit, I opted to not wear a facemask because of my anxiety. I now wear one, and I wore one all the way through the service today. Yes it made the anxiety bubble away under the service but pushing through and beating the urge to do the usual, which is avoiding, it feels so damn good, it’s a victory.

And a victory over anxiety is a massive win for me!

It also turned out to be the Shabbat where Mental Health was discussed and so it seemed that it was a week when I just had to be there and it was almost like a sign that pushing through the anxiety was meant to be.

By Zechariah Richardson

Over 50, disabled, husband, father and gramps who reviews products and writes blog posts about his life, beekeeping, gardening and whatever pops into his brain!

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